With Evan Davis. Paris terror suspect arrested in Belgium. Political turmoil in Brazil and just how bad a week has it been for the chancellor and his budget?
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Ian Duncan Smith has resigned from the government this evening,
over benefit cuts, the end of his six years reign as work
At the last Budget he'd cheered government policy
So, is his exit a full-blown crisis for the government,
Five arrested in Brussels - Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam among
We'll piece together today's events, and ask whether the authorities can
And on tonight's Artsnight - artist Ryan Gander explores the art
Art isn't a stronghold of the elite, it's everywhere. It surrounds us.
It was at 9:00pm this evening, the news dropped without warning.
Iain Duncan Smith has resigned from the cabinet.
His resignation letter stuck the knife into George Osborne,
and indeed, twisted it around a bit too.
Now it had obviously been a fraught day,
earlier in the evening, there had been signs
of a significant U-turn on those unpopular cuts to benefits
for people with disabilities - the personal independence
The cuts were meant to make a ?1.3 billion saving.
But according to Mr Duncan Smith's resignation letter,
He didn't like them, and didn't like them even more
for the fact they were accompanied by tax cuts for the better off.
That have a brief chat to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg,
who is in Downing Street. Take us through the letter, what you make of
it, the substance and tone. Well, it's an absolute zinger of a
resignation letter. He believed very strongly in the changes being made
in welfare under his leadership at the DWP over the last six years, but
in his view, these latest proposed cuts to the payments for many
disabled people were simply a step too far. They were, in his view, the
wrong balance, striking the wrong balance. He makes a very interesting
point. Politically this will hurt. He suggests the government now has
the balance of cuts the wrong way round, they are looking in the wrong
places and hitting the wrong people. He dares the government to explain
why they've been hitting people at the bottom end and the younger
generation instead, protecting pensioners at the top end. The most
striking and damaging line of all in this letter is saved for the very,
very end. He casts doubt on the government's main assertion they've
made time and time again since they've been in charge in 2010, he
questions whether or not we are really all in this together. That is
a senior figure in government walking out in protest and,
essentially, questioning the government's main motivation. Every
line is almost full of some bitterness. There has been bad blood
between him and George Osborne for some time now. Very briefly, that is
what he said, is there anything unsaid that is going on tonight?
Naz of course there always is in politics. In this case there is
something glaringly missing from the resignation letter. Iain Duncan
Smith is one of the most prominent Eurosceptics, he has a big role in
obtaining for us to leave the European Union. For some people
inside government, they are pointing very much to that as part of his
motivation. This will pour fuel on the already fiery debate inside the
Conservative Party over whether or not we should stay or leave the EU.
Senior MPs I've spoken to close to Iain Duncan Smith say, however, it's
just not the case. He feels he was forced into these reforms he was
then feeling he was being forced to defend them. When it emerged today
the government was going to jump the reforms altogether, you felt it was
a step too far. This will make a difference to the bad blood already
there over the EU. That think that anger, that's David Cameron has been
struggling to contain inside his party. No question, the timing of
the debate around the EU referendum is absolutely part of this, too.
Well to discuss all of this is Tim Montgomerie, from the Times
newspaper, who was a speech writer for Iain Duncan Smith and founded
the Centre for Social Justice with him, and also Jonathan
Freedland, columnist from the Guardian, and Anne McElvoy
Good evening to you all. Tim, what is going through his mind tonight? I
think you have to judge it by the content of the letter that he wrote
to the Prime Minister. He has been struggling for a long time with an
imbalance of cuts that he's being asked to make. Huge part of the
welfare budget, particularly for pensioners, said in universal
benefits like child benefit have been ruled out of being touched by
the Prime Minister and by the Chancellor. I think Iain Duncan
Smith has, as he says, been a team player, tried to make cuts on the
working poor and younger families. He feels it has gone on too far.
It's one thing to make cuts for deficit reduction, but as his letter
said, it's completely different if you are making those cuts to fund
tax cuts for the better off or capital gains tax. You are taking
the letter at face value. I think we have to, there may be other reasons,
but there is a lot of moral force to this letter and it chimes with a lot
of people who feel, to quote the letter, the promise was, we are all
in this together. And, actually, it is working age families at the
bottom of the pile who are yet again been asked to bear the brunt of
posterity. It's interesting, a lot of critics to the left, who've grown
to not like him very much over the last six years of his reign there,
they will say, why are you going this way? There's been a lot of this
over the last six years and you suddenly popped out, particularly
just in the run-up to an EU referendum, which will make them
suspicious if something about Brexit. You could easily make the
argument he could have gone over other cuts, over tax credits last
year. I think that the difference is the use of these cuts to help fund
cuts for better off people. That really is a step too far. The others
like detail is this is the day the policy he is resigning over was
going to be junked. It's very odd to resign over policy the government
has abandoned. The timing perhaps wasn't completely ideal in that
respect. But I think the wider point of the letter, that cuts are still
coming down the pipeline and are focused on the working age, young
families, that is still very resonant. IQ taking the letter at
face value or do you think there is something else going on? -- are you
taking. It's what Iain Duncan Smith really believes, I don't think there
is any sort of hokum, trying to cover something up. There is a
permissive environment in the Conservative Party as a result of
the referendum and a deep split in the Conservative Party which goes
back... Pretty much forever... But Iain Duncan Smith is one of those
people from the 90s onwards who has been a great Eurosceptic. This is
their moment in the run-up to a possible Brexit. All sorts of things
that maybe would have just about held together, got patched together,
like those family rows. Once you start one, the others tend to come
up. That's really what is going on here. People say what he's trying to
do... The letter is so barbed comment doesn't mention George
Osborne particularly, but it's so obviously aimed at him. People say
he's trying to betray himself as the nice guy, for exit, the Chancellor,
who wants to remain, as the evil... People will find it rich of Iain
Duncan Smith to criticise Osborne from the left. They will say, you
are the person who has been implementing these cuts, some of
them very severe. The test of fitness to work imposed on the
disabled. He's been seen as extremely harsh by disability
groups. They find that now of all times he discovers it's too much for
him. He is shocked to discover there is this harsh policy from the
government and he's quitting just as it's dropped. Of course people are
going to be sceptical and ask that because Dean you always ask in
politics, why now? Is tolerated lots before now. Now three months ahead
of the referendum he feels it's time to really launch an exit at the man
who is leading the outcome pain. Is this full-blown crisis or
containable to one policy over this benefit cut, which has been junked?
And one man? It feels like, judging from the tweets of all the people
coming out in support of him, the usual suspects on the Brexit side of
the party, it feels like it's igniting something, is that right?
This is an historic time for the Conservative Party. I don't want to
make a prediction in a world where Donald Trump could be the next
president, it's a world full of surprises. I think the Conservative
Party could easily split over this Brexit bait, not just because of the
nature of the huge divide it represents philosophically, but the
way it is being fought. -- Brexit debate. There is unhappiness on both
sides at the emphasis the Prime Minister is putting on fear, for
example. Other people on the site that supports staying in the EU
worries about the tactics of some of the people wanting to come out.
There is also a sense, this is why this letter is imported, the
weakness of the leading party means the Conservative Party could be in
government for a long time. -- weakness of the Labour Party. Iain
Duncan Smith says unless the Conservative Party is a truly one
nation party that balances the cuts and tax policy so they are fair to
everyone in society, it risks squandering that opportunity to be
the natural party of government again. The difficulty with that is,
it's such a complex landscape within the Conservative Party. When Iain
Duncan Smith says, in the letter, he could just about have gone along
with this if it hadn't been for the fact he thought the budget was too
nice to high earners... This is someone on the right of the party.
Where are we? That's another question. We've gone through the
looking Glass of it. It's going to be a bit of a problem. I feel you
should put in some word of defence for George Osborne here. It's easy
on a night like this to say, you see what happens, you put on these
disability cuts, now look. We've heard a rising bill on this.
Governments, going back to new Labour... Disability benefit cuts to
fund tax cuts for the well of. It was because for the top rate of tax
to come down from 50p to 45 D. E tolerated that before. We've got a
figure on the right attacking the figure associated with compassionate
conservatism and modernisation, saying, this is too much for me.
That is why you feel it's about Brexit. You've got this odd thing
going on, partly to do with the weakness of labour. Government and
opposition are happening within the Conservative Party. It's the sort of
thing George Osborne could have got away with before but half the people
behind him as he gave the budget wanted him to fail, wanted him to
trip up, because he is the leader of In. Is this schism in the party at
the end of the road is it repairable the referendum... Is, David
Cameron's departure date will have to come forward, is not in the
position, if it is likely he wins the Brexit election, he will not be
able to heal this. The Chancellor is toxic on lots of these issues. I
think a new leader will be necessary to heal divisions. Inside of the
party? Early in the parliament. Polls suggest it wouldn't be risk he
couldn't do a healing role. Cameron has allowed Osborne to be the
lightning rod and hate figure of In. Cameron isn't even here, playing the
statesman figure. This attack goes to Cameron as well as Osborne. I
mean, he's put up his hands and said, there are a lot of people.
They recently have want to do continue with the Cameron- Osborne
duo at the top of the Conservative Party. This is an extremely
significant moment for them. Geoffrey Howe, the attack on
Margaret Thatcher, these things come round, teams to be an eternal
recurrence. It begins to look like the beginning of an endgame, doesn't
it? Osborne has had the most appalling week. This has to be worse
than omnishambles. He was going to be all right after the budget! And
now look. Again, is it what you would call the tin ear, he doesn't
get 1 billion pounds from disabled people is a lot of money. It's like
the disabled tax credit row from last, the fact he has repeated it
with an even more vulnerable group. People feel the disabled are the one
group, most of all, that deserve help from the welfare state. Taking
from the poor to give to the rich is one thing, but even the Sheriff of
Nottingham didn't take from the disabled and sick to give to the
rich. Capital gains tax sounded so bad. People were selling their
shares in Osborne as soon as he sat down on Wednesday. It's got much
worse. You can't keep making mistakes like this. If you are the
great strategic genius as he presenting cells politically, his
image has been, I may not look like that popular figure on TV but I am a
strategic wizard. Yet he's done the tax credit reversal, similar to...
Praising the Google tax deal, another humiliation. He's running
out of lives. Your luck does run out as Chancellor. Remember, he's been
an absolutely commanding figure in this period, an architect of the
Tory election victory. Your luck does run out as Chancellor. It
hinges on the Office for Budget Responsibility. When it goes well
his stock rises. Not only that, the OBE are as a life of its own in
national politics. -- the OBR. Tim was reflecting, that absolutely
driven feeling Osborne has that he has to at least prove he is right in
the long run, it's now beginning to trip him up. Does it make any
difference to the referendum itself? Does it bolster the leave camp,
possibly even the remain camp? It does matter how much standing
David Cameron has in the country. He is the lead person selling EU
membership to the people. If this makes a difference, every time he
tries to sell the EU, people look at him slightly differently. It is not
helpful... I think the damage is around George Osborne. He is the
toxic figure, the hard-faced man. He was booed at the Paralympics, he is
having another go at this table people now. I don't think much of
that rubs off on Cameron. That is all we have time for. Thank you.
Just over four months since the Paris attacks,
Salah Abdesalm Europe's most wanted man, for his role in those
Along with an accomplice, and three people in a family who had
Right in a flat in Molenbeek, Abdesalm's home
Secunder Kermani has been in Molenbeek in recent days,
Dramatic scenes on the streets of Molenbeek in Brussels,
as authorities closed in on one of Europe's's most wanted men.
as authorities closed in on one of Europe's most wanted men.
Salah Abdeslam was reportedly shot in the leg and arrested along
with an alleged accomplice and three members
Police had been searching for him ever since the attacks in Paris last
November and he is now likely to be extradited to France.
In the past, some there had accused Belgian
security services of intelligence failures.
This evening the French president praised their work
TRANSLATION: I have a special thought for the victims
of the attacks on the 13th of November in Paris.
Because Salah Abdeslam is directly connected to the preparation,
organisation and, I have to say, the perpetration of these attacks.
I also think of the families who have been looking
Salah Abdeslam was a former petty criminal from the Brussels district
He drove the attackers to Paris and, according to some reports,
took an active part in what had happened there.
His brother was one of those firing at people in the bars and cafes
He was picked up by two friends, who drove
Incredibly, they were stopped three times at police
checkpoints, but were allowed to continue.
The next day, those two friends who had picked him up were arrested
in dramatic fashion, despite an international manhunt
Until a raid earlier this week in Brussels
suburb where police found his fingerprints.
One man was killed, two others escaped.
One may have been Salah, but today he was finally
Clearly, catching someone like this alive,
who was involved in the plot against Paris, who was probably
meant to die giving that attack, which means he was really a key part
of the fabric of the operation means he will have
a real insight into the broader networks around them,
into the people who supplied them with
weapons, the people who helped them make the bombs,
From an intelligence perspective, this is a huge victory.
Salah had been a childhood friend of the organiser of the Paris
Who else in IS, whether in Europe or Syria, was involved
in the attacks, will be a key question to explore.
As will the network who helped Salah hideout for so long.
Molenbeek where he grew up and where he was captured has gained
what many residents see as an unfair reputation as a centre of extremism.
This man runs one of the oldest youth centres. He said with a Distin
fries population, it is the perfect place to hide. You should know that
there is a high density population. 8000 new inhabitants every year. And
8000 leaving. There were tense scenes in Molenbeek to light. Most
oppose extremism, but also many have a troubled relationship with the
police. These raids were a success for the Belgian authorities, but as
they discover more behind the Paris attacks, they will be looking to
prevent other attacks happening. What was his role on November the
13th? I have spent quite a bit of time in Molenbeek and I have met
many of Salah Abdesalm's friends. They cannot comprehend his role in
the attacks. His brother said he had seen him watching jihad videos. But
his friends, it had been a shock to them. They would say the fact he
didn't end up dead on the night of the attack shows he had second
thoughts about his involvement. But he played a key role in the
logistics, he rented cars, rented one of the safe houses that was used
to manufacture the suicide belts that were detonated. One of the most
interesting aspects is the anger in Molenbeek tonight. Interpret that,
it is not complicit with Isis, what is going on? Molenbeek has a high
Muslim population. They resent the presence of the international media
been camped out there portraying it as the Jihadi capital of Europe.
That is what explains that. To discuss the wider
implications of today's events, we're joined by Professor Peter
Neumann from King's College's Centre for the study of Radicalisation
and Political Violence. To what extent does capturing him
alive help the authorities? Potentially he might talk, but we
don't know that yet. There is a potential disadvantage because of
course, Isis has an incentive to perhaps even try to blackmail
Belgium to release him. It is absolutely unpredictable what will
happen in the next days and weeks. If he talks, it will be a huge
opportunity, but there is no guarantee he will. What does this
say about ice is that he was in Molenbeek. He could have gone to
Syria, the big network, but he hadn't? It is interesting, because
his brother died in the attacks. One of his school friends was the
mastermind of the attacks. Despite this being such a transnational
phenomenon, it is also a very small local phenomenon. A lot of people
are closely related to each other. The fact he stayed in that place for
four months. If you were the most wanted man in Europe, maybe you
would enqueue shouldn't be in the obvious place. The fact he stayed
there proves how provincial and local some of this movement can be.
The fact he was under their noses, what does that tell us about the
authorities? Was it a success they got him, but a failure because he
was always in Molenbeek? It is a success. Well Jim is the most effect
that country relative to population size in Europe. Its security
agencies were not built for the numbers of people they now have to
deal with. Second point, this was a part of Brussels that had been
abandoned by the state, by the Muslim communities and it is clear
that the authorities did not penetrate that part of their own
city at all. What about the European authorities, are they working
together a love? Are they able to deal with what is going on? After
Paris, something 's happened. But there are still some big things that
need to be fixed. To this day there isn't a single database accessible
to every European country that contains the names of every foreign
fighter, every potential terrorist. It is still possible, even after
Paris, for people to come back from Syria, returned to their own
countries are via other countries, because their countries don't have a
proper way of exchanging information. Peter, thank you very
much. Latin America is having
an extraordinary year - socialism in that continent has
been in the ascendancy, Venezuela in economic crisis,
Socialist Cuba coming And, a socialist government
in Brazil in the midst The Brazil crisis is the one
that is reaching fever Demonstrations and
counter-demonstrations, The scandal concerns construction
company bribes paid to the state oil company, finding their way
to senior political figures. It's now ensnared the revered former
President, Lula da Silva. An extraordinary tale -
Gabriel Gatehouse reports. Lula da Silva, seventh son of a
literate farm workers, a former shoeshine boy turned president.
Credited with lifting millions of people out of poverty. He left
office five years ago with an approval rating of 90%. In Brazil
Lula said in the 1980s, when up for man steals, he goes to jail. When a
rich man steals, he becomes a minister. Now, the man himself
stands accused of doing exactly that, falling foul of his own savage
critique of the system. Last Sunday, more than a million people across
Brazil came out onto the streets to demonstrate against the government
of Lula successor. At the heart of this story is a giant corruption
scandal. Allegations of billions of dollars of Ribes involving senior
officials and politicians. Now, Lula himself has been implicated. He has
denied charges of money-laundering and fraud, but the allegations have
set off a chain reaction. Secretly taped phone calls released to the
media, appeared to show the president offering Lula a
ministerial post which would shield him from prosecution.
The appointment was announced and Lula was sworn in yesterday. The
president herself is facing impeachment over allegations she
misused public fronts to boost spending during an election
campaign, warned of attempts to overthrow her government.
TRANSLATION: Convulsing Brazilian society with lies and reprehensible
practices, violates constitutional rights and the rights of citizens.
It sets serious precedents. Kuwas begin this way. Under President
Lula, Brazil was on the up. Bids to host the World Cup and the 2016 Rio
Paralympics. In 2010, the economy grew by 7.5%, but since then things
have gone wrong. Last year, GDP fell by 3.8%, leading to perhaps the
worst recession since records began. There are all sorts of reasons for
Brazil's economic woes, not all of them the government's fault.
Constant stories in the media about waste and corruption surrounding the
World Cup and the Olympics have feel the anger, especially among
middle-class voters. The upper middle class has suffered a very
significant, economic and political losses in the period of
Administration in the past 13, 14 years. On the economic side, jobs
for the other middle-class, paying between the minimum wages have
declined by 4.5 million in this period. It is very difficult for
children to do better than their parents did. The government does
have its supporters, drawn chiefly from the working class. Today, they
came out in force to save they are backing Lula and the president.
TRANSLATION: For the first time workers have rights and benefits and
the elite don't like this because they no longer have a cheap labour
force and slaves. The anti-government protests might have
begun as a middle-class movement. One of its leaders is a former hedge
front manager. Today he told us their appeal is broadening. Over the
last few days you could see absolutely everyone coming to the
streets, because the outrage is penetrating all of society. It
doesn't matter the social or economic level. Barack Obama once
called Lula the most popular politician on earth. Now
demonstrators are willing to face water canons to demand he go on
trial and his hand-picked successor stand out. Brazilians are coming to
the conclusion their political culture is rotten. So rotten, even
their most revered heroes seem not to be immune.
That's it from Newsnight, but now for Artsnight.
In the last episode in this run of the series, artist Ryan Gander
looks at the links between everyday life and creativity,
and travels to Berlin to meet Olafur Eliasson,
who famously created a giant sun in Tate Modern's Turbine Hall.
Everyone has the capacity to be creative.
We all do things in our lives that are artistic, whether we realise