Former work and pensions secretary and Universal Credit cheerleader Iain Duncan Smith ended up on the receiving end of some sharp comments in the Commons.
Labour MP Neil Coyle delivered a significant burn to the ex-Tory leader during a debate on the roll-out of the embattled benefits programme on Wednesday.
Referring to a book penned by IDS in 2003, titled The Devil’s Tune, Coyle said: “He seems to be accepting that universal support hasn’t worked for everyone, so does he agree that Universal Credit has been almost as bad for some of the people affected as online reviews of his novel; ‘frighteningly bad, rubbish, utter drivel, hilariously awful, and an outstanding compendium of bottom gravy’.”
The novel, which is currently selling for as little as 1p on Amazon, has attracted a plethora of scathing reviews, including: “A literary weapon of mass destruction” and “vanity publishing at its most irritating”.
Duncan Smith responded that he thought Coyle was referencing “his own speaking ability in the House” and said the government was committed to ironing out problems with the new benefits system, which would be “a great driver for change”.
Opposition MPs want to see the nationwide roll-out of Universal Credit, which aims to combine the six main benefits into a single monthly payment, paused while problems with six-week delays leaving thousands of claimants dangerously out of pocket are fixed.
Members are due to vote on an Opposition Day motion to that effect tabled by the Labour Party on Wednesday evening - but a No.10 spokesman refused to comment on reports Conservative MPs may be told to abstain.