Newspaper headlines: Conservative Party 'civil war'

What the papers are widely dubbing a "civil war" within the Conservative Party continues to dominate the papers following the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith.

The Independent says the former work and pensions secretary launched a cutting attack on the government's record, claiming that Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne risked "dividing society" with their approach to public spending cuts.

According to the Guardian: "One MP accused Duncan Smith of lobbing a grenade into the party, with an emotional resignation that has broken apart a Tory consensus on austerity."

The Financial Times says: "The resignation of the former party leader pushed longstanding Tory divisions over Europe and welfare policy into the open, exposing splits at the highest levels of government."

Image caption Iain Duncan Smith argued his case on the Andrew Marr Show

The Times says Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne faced a "devastating assault" from Mr Duncan Smith who accused them of balancing the books at the expense of the poor.

The Mail says Mr Duncan Smith repeatedly plunged the knife into the policies of the pair in an "emotional 20-minute TV appearance" on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

The Sun describes it as the Tories' bloodiest civil war since the divide over Europe under John Major in the 1990s - and depicts IDS as a Roundhead and Mr Osborne and Mr Cameron as Cavaliers.

The Mirror says "the Tory party descended into chaos" after Mr Duncan Smith "again tore into George Osborne's spiteful bid to target the disabled with damaging benefits cuts".


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'The IDS of March'

The Independent says Mr Osborne faces one of the most challenging weeks of his political career, with £4.4bn cuts to disability benefits being shelved, leaving a gaping hole in the Budget.

For the Guardian, Mr Duncan Smith's "sudden and dramatic resignation has crystallised nagging concerns about the chancellor within his own party".

The FT states: "When Iain Duncan Smith quit David Cameron's cabinet last Friday, it was perhaps the most explosive resignation in British politics for more than 25 years - immediately dubbed 'the IDS of March'."

The Times reports that the prime minister told a cabinet colleague that the chancellor had "messed up" - although this is a claim denied by Number 10.

The Telegraph says Mr Cameron will launch a fight-back, defending his record as a "compassionate Conservative" who has "done the right thing for Britain".

The Express sees it as a boost for the campaign for the UK to leave the European Union - calling it a "devastating blow" for Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne.


'Crass juxtaposition'

In a leading article, the Times says IDS is right that the Conservatives need to ensure the burden of deficit reduction is fair - and the party must work out how to put itself back together.

"It is hard not to place this argument within the wider context of the government's split over the European referendum, but Mr Duncan Smith's case deserves to be considered on its merits," it says.

"While it was, on the face of it, peculiar to have consented to cuts to disability benefits and then to have resigned once it became clear they were being abandoned, Mr Duncan Smith does offer a serious critique of his own government.

"He alleges that the weight of deficit reduction has been unfairly loaded on to the shoulders of the poor," the paper says.

It continues: "It was crass of Mr Osborne to juxtapose a reduction in benefits for the disabled with a cut to capital gains tax and a lowering of the threshold for the payment of a higher rate of tax."

The Telegraph says it is a dangerous moment for Mr Cameron and the Conservative Party.

"Comparisons have inevitably been made between the dramatic resignation of Sir Geoffrey Howe in 1990," it states, "and that of Iain Duncan Smith as work and pensions secretary on Friday.

"Both events were overshadowed by the issue of Britain's place in Europe; and yet the real cause of the disenchantment that led both to step down was the way in which government was being conducted from the centre."

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Media captionPolitical commentator Jo Phillips and Sunday People political editor Nigel Nelson join the BBC News Channel to review Monday's front pages.

The Guardian believes the prime minister has been left weaker - and that could be a "national disaster" in the context of the EU referendum.

It says: "Iain Duncan Smith's interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show yesterday morning will go down as one of the most powerful personal statements in political history.

"It may not be quite on a par with the resignation speech of Margaret Thatcher's nemesis, Sir Geoffrey Howe, but its central charge of a chancellor abandoning wider principle in pursuit of deficit reduction strikes at the heart of a government of which until Friday night he was a senior member."

The Independent challenges Mr Duncan Smith to come up with his alternative financial vision - otherwise be a "busted flush".

"If he fails to take his agenda forward, then IDS and his reputation will dwindle as rapidly as they did when he was defenestrated as party leader back in 2003," says the Independent.

"Regrettably, all the signs are that IDS will simply be far too busy with Brexit."


I name this ship...

Finally, the Telegraph reports that a £200m state-of-the-art polar research ship could be called Boaty McBoatface after the Natural Environment Research Council invited people to vote for a name online.

RRS (Royal Research Ship) Boaty McBoatface apparently got more than 16,500 votes.

Next most popular was RRS Henry Worsley, named after the explorer who died in the Antarctic in January, with about 2,400 votes.

Other suggestions included RRS David Attenborough, RRS Usain Boat and RRS Pingu.

The ship will set off for Antarctica in 2019.

Image copyright Natural Environment Research Council
Image caption A name is being sought for the Natural Environment Research Council polar research ship

The paper comments: "No doubt some PR wizard in the bowels of Whitehall thought it was a good idea. Let's ask the public to name a new polar exploration vessel!

"Jo Johnson, the science minister, said: 'Can you imagine one of the world's biggest research labs travelling to the Antarctic with your suggested name proudly emblazoned on the side?'

"His department offered a few ideas: Shackleton, Endeavour - or Falcon maybe? Unfortunately, the internet is not a place where such things are taken seriously. So the runaway leader is Boaty McBoatface.

"We can only be grateful that the internet was not around when HMS Victory was named. The French might not have been quite so worried about HMS Boaty McBoatface sailing into view."

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