British Prime Minister David Cameron backed his embattled Chancellor George Osborne on Monday in a bid to stem a bout of infighting triggered by the resignation of a senior minister.
Cameron’s Conservative Party, already divided over a forthcoming referendum on membership of the European Union, descended into chaos over the weekend after Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith resigned with a fierce critique of Osborne, a close ally of Cameron, and his plans to cut welfare.
The pointed criticism of Osborne, whom Cameron has trusted to run the British economy since 2010, posed a threat to party unity ahead of the June 23 EU vote and brought calls from the opposition Labour Party for Osborne to resign.
Faced with the difficult task of calming tensions in a party with a long history of bitter internal rows, Cameron said Osborne’s work on “turning our economy around” was essential to delivering his party’s vision for the country.
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