Yet still they call him the quiet man, the gentleman.
Here's your gentleman : (from Hansard last November) May all the universe conspire to show the whole country this IDS we know so well.
"Rachel Reeves (Leeds West) (Lab): This weekend it was reported that Atos had pulled out of a DWP contract providing specialist disability advice. What was the Department’s response? An internal memo instructing staff deciding whether people are disabled enough to receive disability living allowance to “google it”. Is this not the biggest indication yet of the sheer contempt in which the Department for Work and Pensions holds disabled people?
Mr Duncan Smith: The hon. Lady is completely wrong. First of all, it was not an internal memo; it was guidance that goes out to the Department in the normal way. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) needs to keep quiet for a while and listen a bit more. This man has travelled so far in his political career that we never know what he is talking about. He has gone from being a Tory to being a Blairite and then a Brownite, and now he is a socialist on his website, so I wonder whether he needs to keep quiet and listen a little more.
The answer to the hon. Member for Leeds West (Rachel Reeves) is that Atos Healthcare has not withdrawn from the contract. Normal procedures to update guidance in the process of DLA reform are going through. Under DLA, only 6% had face-to-face assessments; the majority have face-to-face assessments now, under the personal independence payment. Therefore, decision makers have much more objective information than they ever had before, so there is no change to the quality of the service. This is a simple contract adjustment to reflect and meet the corresponding business needs. The hon. Lady should really not listen to jobbing journalists who come to her to tell her they have an issue.
Rachel Reeves: I am not sure whether the Secretary of State has even bothered to read the memo from his own Department. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, because of the failure of his Department to deliver the reform, the personal independence payment is going out only to a third of country. After the chaos of the universal credit, the work capability assessment, the PIP, the Work programme and the Youth Contract, DLA is now in chaos as well. Is there any part of the Department for Work and Pensions that is actually working?
Mr Duncan Smith: The thing that is wonderful about the hon. Lady is that she never listens; she just reads what is on her script that she prepared before, and it does not matter what question was answered. I have already told her—[Interruption.]The hon. Member for Rhondda should keep quiet; otherwise he will jump out of his underpants if he carries on like that—
Mr Speaker: Order. These occasions are becoming deeply disorderly. A question has been put, and the Secretary of State is answering it. The House must hear the answer with all due courtesy and orderliness."
He's on with Iain Hislop, editor of Private Eye which has fiercely criticized IDS and Atos from the start when no-one else would. Chris Bryant represents the Lab shadow team and he's nobody's yes man, totally up for bit of argey bargey.
If you have nerves stronger than me, it might be quite a dust up.