As regular readers will recall, Iain Duncan Smith and the DWP have been throwing money at increasingly desperate legal bids to keep a number of documents related to the Universal Credit programme under wraps — and they’ve just lost. Again.
With IDS’ critics claiming that he may have misled parliament on the progress (or utter lack of progress) on Universal Credit, the work and pensions secretary’s only remaining option would be to invoke a ministerial veto:
The veto is rarely used but here’s a list courtesy of the House of Commons Library:
- February 2009: contents of the legal advice on war in Iraq.
- Two subsequent vetoes on devolution issues.
- May 2012: blocking the release of the NHS Transitional Risk Register
- July 2012: blocking extracts from Cabinet minutes on war in Iraq
- October 2012: blocking correspondence from Prince Charles to departments
- January 2014: documents related to High Speed 2
The release of these documents could arguably be as damaging to the government — not to mention Iain Duncan Smith personally — as the NHS Risk Register or HS2 files. The fallout from a veto could be weathered as it has been at least four times under the coalition.
“We remain confident that we’ve fulfilled our duties in publishing information and details on Universal Credit and been open and honest”
One rule for us. Another for them.