This is the moment former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith broke down and wept in a TV interview about why he was pursuing aggressive welfare reform.
Mr Duncan Smith recounted a visit to a housing estate but his voice started to waver when he turned to an anecdote about a young woman he said reminded him of his daughter.
He then broke down as he talked about how the ‘system’ had failed the 19-year-old single mum, leaving her with no aspiration or ability to get a better life.
Just months after recording the interview Mr Duncan Smith sensationally resigned in the wake of George Osborne’s latest Budget, claiming planned cuts to disability benefits alongside tax cuts for the middle classes undermined the social justice mission of the Government.
Iain Duncan Smith, the former work and pensions secretary, broke down and wept, pictured, while talking about the plight of a teenage single mother in a BBC documentary
The former Tory leader was being interviewed about his policies for the BBC documentary ‘Workers or Shirkers’ by Private Eye editor Iain Hislop.
In the interview, due to be broadcast on Thursday, Mr Duncan Smith said: ‘When I sat and talked to her I sensed that she wanted to do something, she wanted to be better than her circumstances – but she had no skills, she had no school, she didn’t know where to go.
‘I remember leaving there thinking very simply: this is my daughter.’
As he started to weep, Mr Duncan Smith continued ‘I’m sorry, I’m quite emotional about this… 19-years-old’ before pausing to compose himself.
He continued: ‘My aspiration for my daughter was boundless.
‘And here I’m sitting with a 19-year-old girl who had written off her life and had no aspiration and no self-worth.
‘She was a product of a system.
‘My point was what could I have done, what could I do, to change her life.’
Sources close to Mr Duncan Smith said it had been a ‘really powerful interview’ which they hoped would be ‘treated sensitively’.
Asked if he had tried to comfort Mr Duncan Smith, Mr Hislop told the Radio Times: ‘No, I just watched him cry.
‘We’re sitting in the Department for Work and Pensions talking about his desire to increase the lot of those without any privileges or start in life and he starts welling up.’
Mr Duncan Smith was interviewed by Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, right, for the BBC documentary Workers or Shirkers? Ian Hislop’s Victorian Benefits
Mr Duncan Smith explained his bombshell resignation in a further TV interview where he launched a strident attack on the Government for undermining social justice
The extraordinary exchange was revealed in a trailed for the BBC documentary about the Government’s welfare cuts.
During his six years as work and pensions secretary, Mr Duncan Smith faced repeated and severe criticism from opponents of the Government for repeatedly pushing through cuts to working age benefits.
In the wake of his bombshell resignation, Mr Duncan Smith insisted the Government had been right to pursue its reforms to welfare to encourage more people back into work.
But he blasted David Cameron’s administration for cutting too deeply on workers while leaving pensioner benefits untouched.
In the stinging conclusion to his letter, Mr Duncan Smith said: ‘I hope as the government goes forward you can look again, however, at the balance of the cuts you have insisted upon and wonder if enough has been done to ensure ”we are all in this together”.’
Chancellor George Osborne, pictured presenting his Budget last month, was told by Mr Duncan Smith when he resigned that he had cut too deeply in working age benefits
Social media users appeared unconvinced by Mr Duncan Smith’s performance.
Tina Savage questioned ‘does anyone really believe this?’ as she shared the story.
And James Gill said: ‘Can’t decide whether Iain Duncan Smith actually has a heart in his body or is more conniving than first appeared.’
The user Invisible Britain suggested Mr Duncan Smith should ‘get a Bafta’ for his appearance in the documentary.
Workers or Shirkers? Ian Hislop’s Victorian Benefits on Thursday 7th April at 8PM on BBC Two.
Social media users were unconvinced by Mr Duncan Smith’s display of emotion in the interview