Tories laugh during parliamentary debate about disabled people

A picture of parliament
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Tory MPs have been recorded groaning and laughing in parliament when a Labour MP was talking about disabled people. The Labour MP shared the video in which you can hear the Tories’ contempt on his Twitter – not that contempt from these people is anything new.

DWP: ‘ignoring legacy benefit claimants’

During the pandemic, the DWP increased Universal Credit by £20-a-week. But it did not do the same for people on so-called legacy benefits. These include social security like the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Disability rights activist Paula Peters previously told The Canary:

the Tories completely overlooked and ignored legacy benefit claimants during the pandemic… Some were also shielding. Living costs rose and disabled people couldn’t afford the most basic standard of living. …

We just want to live with dignity and respect.

A court case

Currently, claimants are waiting for a court decision on whether the DWP and government acted unlawfully by not also uplifting the social security payments for legacy benefits. As Disability News Service (DNS) reported, one of the claimants in the case, who is a disabled person, said of the situation:

It’s like we don’t even exist. I just think it’s disgusting.

It’s that feeling of erasing a minority group – sick and disabled people – from any help, from the public consciousness, and feeling like we don’t matter and don’t exist.

Read on...

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That’s how it made me feel.

Sadly, judging by the conduct of some Tory MPs in parliament recently, the claimant may well be right. Because on Tuesday 7 December, when a Labour MP raised the issue in parliament, the response from the Tory benches was contemptible.

Laughing at you

Former shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon asked a question of chancellor Rishi Sunak about the lack of an uplift. He said:

Disabled people have been disproportionately attacked by Tory governments over the past decade… most recently through a cruel lack of support during Covid. Nearly two million disabled people were not given the £20 uplift in benefits

Burgon then asked Sunak if he would backdate the uplift for legacy benefit claimants.

In the background you can hear Tory MPs firstly groaning when Burgon starts his question. At around 45 seconds, someone actually laughs:

Sunak’s response to Burgon was mealy-mouthed at best. He said, among other things, that the government was increasing spending on accessible toilets. That’s cold comfort to the 42% of people living in a family relying on disability social security who are in poverty and probably can’t afford ‘days out’.


Tory contempt for chronically ill and disabled people is no surprise. As The Canary previously reported, Sunak made clear that the £20 Universal Credit uplift was just for ‘workers’ anyway. As we said at the time:

In other words, the Tories think sick and disabled people don’t need extra money due to the pandemic.

Yet the pandemic hit chronically ill and disabled people claiming social security hard. A report by the Disability Benefits Consortium found:

  • 82% of disabled claimants have had to spend more money than they normally would during the pandemic. …
  • two thirds (67%) of disabled claimants have had to go without essential items at some point during the pandemic.
  • almost half (44%) of disabled claimants are reporting being unable to meet financial commitments such as rent and household bills.

The Tories have shown contempt for these people for many years. Now, the pandemic has further exposed it for all to see.

Featured image via Parliament TV – screengrab

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  • Show Comments
    1. Tories laugh during parliamentary debate about disabled people
      Labour do not expect anything different form Tory M.P. that think
      Disabled people and the rest of us voters are C**p under their feet.
      So, to Boris including Tory party whip how many of your Tory M.P. have drinks in the parliamentary bar before turning up P**ed in Govt help community before being dragged to any debate on D.W.P. failing by the whip. to justify D.W.P. the not paying the claimant right?
      I have ask speaker of the H.O. Commons to have you all drugs plus over drinking tested not had a reply yet from him why speaker of the H.O. Commons have you not replied yet to my emails.
      To Boris plus Tory party whip you need to stop your M.P. from drinking before Debates on any matter making them month OFF
      In the debate some not even knowing what the debate is about they are that far gone some of them DO NOT even recognise they are on live T.V. showing the Tory party up in the debates.
      Therefore, Boris I politely say what with the party mess going on you need to address your M.P. plus Minister on the front bencher drink & possible drugs problem before next G.E. SIR.
      Again, I will ask when are you at No10 going to give me my F.O.I. Act reply to information
      I asked for by email to you Boris??

    2. Quite honestly, what did you expect? The tories are in power with the biggest majority ever recorded, while people are dying on the streets of malnutririon and hypothermia, thenbest leader labour ever had was stabbed in the back by a cabal of mealy-mouthed crypto-tories and the public is totally brainwashed into stupefaction bt an endless diet of “reality” tv; to be frank, I am so totally and completely pissed off with this country that I DON’T WANNA BE BRITISH ANY MORE! I would rather be a citizen of one of those latin-american countries enjoying a “pink tide”, at least they maintain a proper sense of values!

    3. Since the Nasty Party took power, disabled people have been forced through demeaning and humiliating medicals, where officials outright lie about what you say and do during examination. They have made disabled people feel worthless. It is absolutely no surprise they laugh. They paid for reductions in Capital Gains Tax by forcing truly sick people off the benefits that were supposed to be their safety net. I read that 57,000 people have died prematurely because of cuts like these in the last decade. They don’t care about high rates of Covid because they won’t need to use an NHS hospital if they get sick. Private health care for people like these. The only way we stop the sniggering is to vote them out.

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