Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith faced noisy interruptions in the Commons as he sought to rush through a vicious attack on welfare benefits today.
He urged MPs to back a 1 per cent annual cap on working-age benefits for the next three years, proposed in the government's Welfare Benefits Up-Rating Bill.
Green MP Caroline Lucas interrupted the hard-faced minister and angrily denounced the Bill as "a mean and miserable piece of legislation from a mean and miserable government."
Mr Duncan Smith sneered at Labour MPs who repeatedly stood up to intervene during his speech. The last Labour government had "spent taxpayers' money like drunks on a Friday night," he mocked.
A row broke out after Chancellor George Osborne failed to turn up for the start of the debate on the Bill, which provides for additional welfare cuts of £1.9 billion.
Labour shadow minister Liam Byrne said Mr Osborne's absence was "a disgrace."
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