The spending climbdown was announced on Monday by Stephen Crabb, the new work and pensions secretary, an hour after Cameron addressed the political crisis engulfing the Conservative party by offering his support to George Osborne and praise for the work of Duncan Smith.
Aiming to strike a conciliatory tone in the Commons, Cameron said Duncan Smith had “contributed an enormous amount to the work of this government” in his work campaigning for welfare reform, which he said had reduced child and pensioner poverty and inequality.
He added that “none of this would be possible if it weren’t for the actions” of his friend Osborne, although the chancellor was not present in the house. Labour MPs repeatedly asked why he had failed to turn up in the House of Commons to sit alongside the prime minister.
In the debate on the budget that followed Cameron’s remarks, Crabb said his department would drop controversial reforms to personal independence payments (PIP), a disability benefit, adding: “We have no further plans to make welfare savings beyond the very substantial savings legislated for by parliament two weeks ago”.
David Cameron has been forced to concede that a £4.4bn black hole created by the U-turn over disability benefits will not be filled by further cuts to welfare as he fought to shore up his credibility following the shock resignation of Iain Duncan Smith.