By Peter Jennings.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith, MP, visited St Chad’s Sanctuary, a successful a partnership between St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham, and the Salvation Army West Midlands Division, to care for asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants, on Friday 4 February.

The Secretary of State was welcomed by Archbishop Bernard Longley, Canon Gerry Breen, Cathedral Dean, and Major Samuel Edgar, Divisional Commander of the Salvation Army, West Midlands Division.

During his hour-long visit, Mr Iain Duncan Smith, Leader of the Conservative Party, September 2001 – November 2003, was shown round by Sister Margaret Walsh, an Infant Jesus Sister, Manager of the St Chad’s Sanctuary, situated near the Refugee Council in the heart of Birmingham.

The relaxed Cabinet Minister, himself a Catholic, chatted informally to staff and volunteers and willingly posed with various groups for photographs.

Mr. Iain Duncan Smith set-up the Centre for Social Justice, an independent political think-tank that works with small charities in finding and supporting new and innovative grass-roots approaches to tackling poverty.

Prior to his political career, Mr Iain Duncan Smith, who was born in Edinburgh, served as a British Army Officer in the Scotts Guards, 1975-1981. He served in Northern Ireland and Rhodesia.

St Chad’s Sanctuary is situated next to the Salvation Army, William Booth Centre opposite Archbishop’s House, in Shadwell Street, behind the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham. The Sanctuary is open Monday to Friday offering a warm welcome to those in need of help and advice.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, The Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith, MP, pictured with staff and volunteers at the St Chad’s Sanctuary, Birmingham, on 4 February 2011.

Pictures by Peter Jennings.

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