Theresa May’s new DWP Minister has a voting record on welfare like IDS. Which is very bad news.

Iain Duncan Smith Sarah Newton DWP

In the wake of Priti Patel’s resignation from government, there have been some moves in Theresa May’s cabinet. But after the PM promoted Penny Mordaunt to Secretary of State for International Development, it left a gap for a Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

So, May appointed Sarah Newton to the role. But sadly, a look at her voting record and contributions in parliament shows she’s about as pro-welfare and disability as former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith; which should worry us all.

Newton’s voting record

Newton has been the Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth since 2010. She was previously Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office. She will now take responsibility for sick and disabled people’s relationships with the DWP. But her voting record gives an insight into her thoughts on benefit claimants.

According to website They Work For You, she has:

  • Consistently voted for the Bedroom Tax; for reduced spending on welfare entitlements and for passing the responsibility of council tax benefits onto councils.
  • Also consistently voted against raising benefit entitlements in line with inflation. And she voted against giving more money to sick and disabled people.

Two matters of note that Newton voted on were:

  • Giving people with cancer more than a year’s entitlement to contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA); she voted against this.
  • Cutting housing benefit for disabled people living in supported housing; she voted for this.

Newton was, in fairness, always voting with the Tory Whip. But a speech from 2011 sheds some more light on her views.

“Compassionate” conservatism?

During a debate on the benefit cap, which limits the amount of housing benefit people can claim, Newton said:

Read on...

I imagine that there are a great number of vulnerable people who are… listening to this debate. For the sake of clarity, I think it is incredibly important to… remind the whole House that people who are disabled are not subject to the benefits cap.

This is not true. Because around 15% of households who had their benefits cut by the cap had a member on ESA in the Work-Related Activity Group or at the work capability assessment phase, when they had not been found fit-for-work. This equates to 10,000 families who had their benefits cut, when someone was sick or disabled.

And as The Canary previously reported in July, Newton said in parliament that she didn’t believe alcohol was the most dangerous drug; flying in the face of standardised death rates which prove alcohol is the most dangerous drug after tobacco.

Newton said in 2011:

I am a Conservative MP because I want to create a fair compassionate society… It is ingrained in me to value and treat all people equally. Any civilised society should be judged by how it takes care of its weakest members.

As a member of the government who the UN said had created a “human catastrophe” for disabled people, committing “grave” and “systematic” violations of their human rights, Newton’s words in 2011 sound somewhat hollow.

Get Involved

– Support Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), campaigning for disabled people’s rights.

Featured image via YouTube/Wikimedia

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed