A Labour Councillor has decided to give up his MBE in protest over Iain Duncan Smith being awarded a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours List, it has been reported.
Mike Smith-Clare, a Norfolk county councillor, said he could not in good conscience keep his MBE knowing that the same honour system has rewarded Iain Duncan Smith for causing pain and misery.
Iain Duncan Smith, a former DWP Secretary, was named as one of those included in the New Year’s Honours last week.
The announcement was met with both anger and disbelief from campaigners, charities and political opponents who blame Iain Duncan Smith’s benefit cuts and welfare changes for causing “untold stress” to thousands of poor and vulnerable people.
Duncan Smith is known as the main architect behind the introduction of Universal Credit, which has been blamed for rising food bank use and rent arrears.
Mike Smith-Clare was awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to education, but the Labour Councillor said he refused to be associated with “an honours system that rewards social cruelty above social conscience”.
Asked about his decision to give up his MBE, Mr Smith-Clare told The Great Yarmouth Mercury: “It is with genuine sadness that I have decided to return my MBE.
“I have made this difficult decision following the recent announcement that Iain Duncan Smith has been awarded a Knighthood.
“Having seen at first hand the shocking poverty brought about by the introduction of Universal Credit to my town I am incredulous that the architect of such appalling social and personal misery should be so richly rewarded.”
Commenting on the day he was awarded the MBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace, Mr Smith-Clare said: “It was a lovely occasion, but I cannot be associated with an honours system that rewards social cruelty above social conscience.”
A petition aiming to block Iain Duncan’s Smith’s knighthood has received more than 200,000 signatures.
You can add you own name to the petition at https://www.change.org.