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We Asked People On the Street What It Should Take for Politicians to Resign

'If politicians resigned because they didn't come through on their policies, we wouldn't have any politicians left.'

by Amelia Dimoldenberg
23 March 2016, 1:35pm

The former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith resigned in spectacular fashion last Friday for reasons that he could not accept the cuts to the personal independence payment with government was hoping to introduce, saying they were a "a compromise too far".

Often it's best to take cabinet resignations at face value, but it does seem slightly odd that IDS decided to resign a week after his department announced the PIP cuts. Sometimes finding a conscience takes a while, but better late than never, right?

Then on Monday, Jeremy Corbyn was on Good Morning Britain telling George Osborne that he too should resign, in the wake of IDS's resignation. With so much talk of resignation in the air, we asked the British public what they believe is a valid enough reason to resign from office.

Simon, 37, lawyer

VICE: What do you think justifies a politician resigning?
A matter of principle – there is always a line in politics between having your own views and opinions and having to tow the party line. You need a strict party line if you want to get things done in parliament, but it often means that MPs have to go along with things they don't agree with, giving them reason to quit.

Do you think resigning fixes the issue?
With Iain Duncan Smith resigning yes, because it created publicity around the issue of cuts to disability benefits, which has led to the cuts being reversed. Also if it were a more personal issue, a resignation because of something a politician had done, then clearly a resignation would solve the problem.

Shumon, 30, company MD

What should a politician step down over?
A scandal I'd say, shaving money off – something dirty like that.

Any other reasons?
War is always a tricky one. You should resign if you don't agree with going to war. Certain wars the government goes into these days are not even worth the agg. Politicians get mixed up in their emotions.

What about being accused of having sex with a dead pig?
Yeah that's nasty. Cameron should have gone over that.

Niccolo, 23, student

What should it take for a politician to resign?
I don't think MPs should ever have to resign.

What if there was a major scandal involving the politician?
Issues with journalists or scandals shouldn't cause resignation - it's like giving up. A lot of people look up to politicians, so they can't just quit all of a sudden.

What if they got something wrong while in office?
I still don't think so, because these politicians have been voted in for a reason. Maybe if there is a crowd coming at them with pitchforks then maybe it would be a good time to quit, but he or she is up there for a time, then they have to make the best out of it.

So resigning won't fix the problem?
Exactly. If you do something wrong, you have to make it right again by staying in office. Making a major mistake and then immediately leaving is stupid, because you are the best person to get rid of that mistake, as you committed it.

Tori, 39, events manager

What justifies resigning?
Really extreme things like being involved in a paedophile ring.

Anything else?
Stealing money.

So what shouldn't a politician resign over?
Anything debated about in parliament. Politicians are always asking each other to resign and I think it's ridiculous. Just because something doesn't go right doesn't mean you need to quit, it's just an excuse for not dealing with something.

So resigning won't solve the problem?
Well in this Iain Duncan Smith case, it sort of fixed things because there was a turnaround on the decision, but resignations are usually based on ulterior motives – it's all political chess really.

Monika, 23, teacher

What do you think would justify a politician quitting his position?
If you're a politician you should make it your duty to want to change something within society, and if you don't feel that you are in the position to make those changes, you should resign. You need to know the needs and wants of your constituents and if you feel ill-equipped to help them you need to give the job to someone else who can.

Do you think it's right for politicians to resign over issues in their personal life?
I think that we are all human and should be allowed to make those kind of mistakes but it depends on what mistakes – if it's got to do with money then you should resign, because you are putting personal wealth over your job representing the people.

Deidre, 66, retired

What do you think justifies a politician's resignation?
In the case with Iain Duncan Smith, I'm suspicious as to whether that's really why he quit. I do think that a politician should quit if he can't support the policies of the government, but I'm not sure that's really what is happening here. I mean, with IDS, if the policies bothered him that much, he should have quit a long time ago.

Do you think personal scandal is enough of a reason to resign?
It all depends on what kind of personal scandal, really. There were days when being gay or lesbian was enough to have to resign, and that's total bullshit.

What do you think about politicians resigning over not coming through on their policies?
Well, then we wouldn't have any politicians.

@ameliadimz

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