Thus far, Britain's Defence Secretary Liam Fox has seemed to be the minister most likely to be the first to resign from the Lib-Con coalition cabinet. He has been involved in a knock-down, drag-out fight with the Treasury about where funding for a renewed Trident nuclear weapon should come from. Until now the Ministry of Defence has paid only annual maintenance costs of Trident which was originally funded from a central reserve. Now George Osborne wants any new capital costs to be carried by MoD -- a burden which would seriously affect the budgets of all three services, already under pressure. Yesterday, however, an unlikely second candidate for early resignation appeared in the form of Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions minister who, according to one report, had been in a “blazing, smoking Grade A row” with Mr Osborne over his plans for spending more on welfare reforms in the short term in order to make bigger saving later on. Mr Smith, who once when leader of the Conservative party, described himself as the “quiet man” seems an unlikely candidate for a shouting match of this kind but as D (Deficit) Day in October grows nearer tempers are certain to be getting shorter. Yesterday in a speech in London Mr Osborne acknowledged that he was following a “ruthless path”. Indeed he seems intent on taking the title of Iron Chancellor from Germany's Otto von Bismarck who has held it since the 1870s.


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