Conservative MPs jeer at PMQs as Corbyn lays bare the realities of the DWP’s most controversial benefit

Theresa May and Tory MP shouting at PMQs
Emily Apple

At Prime Ministers Questions (PMQs) on 12 September, Theresa May was challenged over her government’s flagship welfare reform, Universal Credit. Her response was shameful. But perhaps even more shameful was the response of Conservative MPs to the suffering the benefit has caused.

Jeering at poverty

Jeremy Corbyn asked several questions about Universal Credit. He also set out exactly why the benefit is causing so much harm for people across the country. Possibly the most controversial of all the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reform, report after report, and even the department’s own figures have shown why there are so many problems with it.

But instead of listening to Corbyn’s question, Conservative MPs jeered as he stated the misery people are facing. Several Labour MPs called out their behaviour:

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And other commentators were equally disgusted:

May’s response

Although devoid of animal noises, May’s response wasn’t much better. As if it somehow mitigated the horrific experiences of hundreds of people affected by the benefit, she reeled off three stories of people who benefited from their experience with a Universal Credit work coach.

May also claimed that “We are helping get people into work”. Although many people pointed out the flaw with that argument:

Callous and disgusting

As the Green Party’s Natalie Bennett pointed out, the behaviour of Conservative MPs would embarrass a 10-year-old. This behaviour would be bad enough on any issue. But MPs behaving like this when confronted with the misery and despair its policies have caused is unforgivable. It is callous and disgusting and should play no part in political discourse.

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Emily Apple