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David Cameron's response to Iain Duncan Smith's resignation letter in full

David Cameron says he was left 'puzzled' by Iain Duncan Smith's decision to quit Credit: Andrew Matthews/P

Prime Minister David Cameron has responded to the resignation of work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith this evening by saying he was "puzzled and disappointed" by his decision to quit.

Duncan Smith stepped down from his post claiming it was because of Treasury pressure to make cuts to benefits but Cameron responded to the work and pensions resignation reason by suggesting the proposed cuts had been "collectively agreed".

Since the resignation on Friday night Downing Street has told ITV's Political Editor Robert Peston that the current version of proposed disability cuts will be dropped but indicated cuts may still go ahead in a a different form.

David Cameron's full letter of response to Iain Duncan Smith's resignation:

Thank you for your letter this evening.

We are all very proud of the welfare reforms which this Government has delivered over the last six years, and in which you have played an important part. As a Government, we have done a huge amount to get people into work, reduce unemployment and promote social justice. There are now more people in work than ever before in our country’s history, with 2.4 million more jobs created since 2010.

I regret that you have chosen to step down from the Government at this moment. Together we designed the Personal Independence Payment to support the most vulnerable and to give disabled people more independence. We all agreed that the increased resources being spent on disabled people should be properly managed and focused on those who need it most.

That is why we collectively agreed – you, No 10 and the Treasury – proposals which you and your Department then announced a week ago. Today we agreed not to proceed with the policies in their current form and instead to work together to get these policies right over the coming months.

In the light of this, I am puzzled and disappointed that you have chosen to resign.

You leave the Government with my thanks and best wishes. While we are on different sides in the vital debate about the future of Britain’s relations with Europe, the Government will, of course, continue with its policy of welfare reform, matched by our commitment to social justice, to improving the life chances of the most disadvantaged people in our country, and to ensuring that those who most need help and protection continue to receive it.

– David Cameron

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