Iain Duncan Smith heckled by protesters in Edinburgh ~ BBC News (with video footage of protester’s speech)


27 March 2013 Last updated at 14:15 By Raymond Buchanan BBC Scotland political correspondent

Mr Duncan Smith was one of the main speakers at a conference in Edinburgh examining changes to the benefits system

Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has been heckled by anti-cuts protesters during a speech in Edinburgh.

Mr Duncan Smith had just been called to speak when campaigner Willie Black rose to his feet and shouted “you’re a rat bag” at the politician.

Mr Black had booked himself into the George Hotel in Edinburgh the night before.

He told the BBC he had breakfast and then made his way to the conference room in the hotel in time for Mr Duncan Smith’s speech.

When the secretary of state rose to his feet Mr Black called out: “You are creating a new poll tax and we are going to see the end of you back to England, where you belong, you rat bag.”

Mr Duncan Smith replied: “It is always good to be welcomed.”

Mr Black was then escorted from the conference room and Mr Duncan Smith continued with his speech.

Willie Black told Mr Duncan Smith he was creating a new poll tax
Willie Black told Mr Duncan Smith he was creating a new poll tax



Then two disabled protesters stood up and shouted out.

They said:

“We want social justice and equality … We’re coming for you.”

The two, and their guide dog, were then escorted from the room.

Outside Jonathan Smith and Charli Saben Fox explained why they had interrupted Mr Duncan Smith’s speech.

Mr Smith who receives income support, disability living allowance and housing benefit said:

“If we don’t do it then we may as well just go out and shoot ourselves.

“A bullet in the head is probably easier, kinder to most of us than just letting us rot away.”

Charli Saben Fox, whose son has learning difficulties and is disabled herself, said:

“If they take away everything from us we have nothing to lose.

“That means we have everything to fight for and that is what we are going to do.

“Iain Duncan Smith has got a fight on his hands if he thinks we are just going to lay down and die.”

Earlier, the BBC understands Mr Duncan Smith had held private meetings with the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and the Deputy First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.

Mr Rennie’s party conference recently voted for a rethink on changes to housing benefit which will see people lose benefits if they are deemed to have spare bedrooms in their property.

Housing benefit

Ms Sturgeon’s government has called on the UK government to scrap what they call the “bedroom tax”.

Labour will use an emergency question at Holyrood to ask the Scottish government if they will bring in emergency legislation to stop local councils and housing associations evicting tenants if they run up arrears as a result of housing benefit changes.

But her housing minister Margaret Burgess ruled this out saying: “What we would have then is lots of tenants and people running up debts and landlords struggling to balance the books and their rent accounts.”

Ms Burgess said the cost of the housing benefit changes in Scotland could be £65m and that was money her government did not have available to compensate councils and social landlords.

She continued: “For us to do that would be asking to use Scottish government funding for devolved matters, money we would have to take from health, from education or from our police services to pay for a reserved matter.

“The bedroom tax lies squarely on the shoulders of the Westminster government and we will continue to fight them on this.”

First Minister Alex Salmond pledged no SNP council would evict tenants who ran into financial trouble as a result of the welfare changes.

In a BBC interview, Mr Duncan Smith defended his housing benefit reforms saying the current system was unfair.

He said: “It is unfair on taxpayers, it is unfair on those in over-crowded accommodation and it is unfair that one group of housing benefit tenants cannot have spare bedrooms and another group are subsidised.

“When is someone going to speak up for the over rowded and those who suffer on waiting lists waiting for their housing because of mis-management here in Scotland and across the United Kingdom.”

Mr Duncan Smith also added his policy was not cutting the welfare bill but slowing its growth to try to help reduce the deficit and get more people into work.


10 thoughts on “Iain Duncan Smith heckled by protesters in Edinburgh ~ BBC News (with video footage of protester’s speech)

  1. maureen says:

    good for you MR BlACK ! we have to speak out if we don’t were all doomed to a life of misery.

  2. Charles Sutherland-Boyce says:

    Mr ‘Idiotic Despicable Stubborn’ Smith is clearly so enamoured with his own back passage, where all his ideas issue from, that he clearly doesn’t see the poverty he is creating! Good for you Mr Black!

  3. Qashie James says:

    If you go in to Mailonline : Profile: Betsy Duncan Smith it make good reading and gives a look in to both her & hubby’s back ground its a eye opener! so please read it I cannot copy it over or share it! there other sites covering his back ground and some saying he is a multi millionaire?

    Betsy is quoted to be a distant relative of Princess Diana? well I got news for them I too am a distant relative of Diana too?

  4. jay says:

    “When is someone going to speak up for the over crowded and those who suffer on waiting lists waiting for their housing because of mis-management here in Scotland and across the United Kingdom.”

    More drivel from IDS, people have been complaining for years about overcrowding and long waiting lists because a Tory government came up with the bright idea to let tenants buy their council house.

    That idea would have been OK if they had built new ones to replace those they sold.
    So the incompetence of politicians now has to be paid for by some of the poorest people living in the UK.
    As MP’s second homes are funded by the taxpayer will they be paying for their spare bedrooms? No I thought not it. Hypocrites.

    Well done Mr Black and also to the other hecklers, IDS should be shut up at every attempt he makes to open his Tory lying gob.

  5. Pink Parrot says:

    Ah brilliant Mr Black and the other two protestors! Well done you. Nice to see IDS with a face even more liked a smacked arse than usual. lol. BTW IDS, saying ‘we’re not cutting welfare’ a million times won’t actually make it rue. We saw what you did there – LYING. Would have loved to have seen everyone at that meeting joining in but can’t have everything I suppose.

  6. Christina Klein-Bissett says:

    I am thankful to everyone standing in the freezing cold representing my cause. Where I can not stand, where I can not speak up, where I can not defend myself. Thank you.

  7. Thomas says:

    If the Tories clamp down on legal protest and reduce large numbers of people to poverty, those people will have nothing to lose and become dangerous, and they may end up with the very trouble they feared.

  8. Harold Hansen says:

    If the tories had not sold off social housing cheap there would be enough to go round. Maggot Scratcher trying to buy votes from the greedy .


    To: Department for Work and Pensions
    Subject: Freedom of Information request – Food Vouchers for those not worthy of a true life

    Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
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    Yours faithfully, GEOFFREY REYNOLDS

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