The DWP boss is left squirming by a killer question from Labour

Esther McVey with the DWP logo
Steve Topple

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) boss Esther McVey didn’t have the best time in parliament on Monday 15 October. Not least because a Labour MP’s question left her visibly rattled.

The DWP: in the line of fire

McVey was answering DWP questions on Monday afternoon. As writer Alex Tiffin put in a Twitter thread, she and her ministers didn’t have an easy ride:

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But, as is becoming frequently the case, it was Labour’s former shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams who was really on point.

Is austerity over?

Private comments from McVey about Universal Credit were leaked to the Times. They suggested that she privately knew that millions of families would lose £200 a month. Since then, McVey effectively admitted on BBC News this was true. But she shrugged off the loss to families by saying people could “work” now instead.

But Abrahams wasn’t letting the issue lie. She collared McVey in parliament, putting it to her that:

One million householders; 750,000 disabled people; 600,000 working single parents; 600,000 self-employed people, and 300,000 families with three or more children will all be worse off under Universal Credit.

She then swiped at McVey, pushing her to:

finally admit that for these people austerity is far from over.

An angry Abrahams was noting Theresa May’s ridiculed claim that ‘austerity is over’. Which it clearly isn’t. But McVey followed in May’s bullshit steps, albeit looking rather rattled.

Heads in the sand

She said:

I have said, under this benefit, what we have sought to do was get more people into work. Because that is the best way out of poverty.

The opposition benches jeered at McVey. And Twitter’s reaction wasn’t much better:

The weight of evidence pointing to the catastrophe Universal Credit is creating is getting vast. McVey and her colleagues are now frantically backtracking; delaying its roll out even more. But don’t be fooled. The ideological dogma behind the benefit still exists. It’s the same one that has already caused untold harm for the past eight years. These dogmatic ministers and Universal Credit both need to be stopped, and quickly. Before millions more people suffer.

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Featured image via Debbie Abrahams – Twitter and UK government – Wikimedia 

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Steve Topple