Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) chief Esther McVey is facing a backlash from disabled people after they accused her of ‘deliberately lying’ to parliament.
The DWP boss: a political storm
The campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) has launched a petition calling on Theresa May to sack McVey. It comes after the DWP boss was caught in a political storm over comments she made in parliament.
McVey refused to accept the findings. She claimed in parliament that the report was based on out-of-date figures and that the NAO ‘did not take into account the impact of our recent changes’. She also claimed that Universal Credit was working.
But the NAO hit back, saying it has seen “no evidence” to support McVey’s claims about its report. It also said that her statement about universal credit has “not been proven”.
McVey apologised to parliament on 4 July. She said she had “inadvertently” misled it by claiming that the NAO had said the rollout of Universal Credit should be sped up; something it did not say. But when Labour’s Frank Field tabled an urgent question on the matter on 5 July, the DWP boss maintained that she and the DWP disagreed with the NAO’s conclusions. McVey also said that she only needed to “apologise for using the wrong words” and making her “interpretation” of the report “incorrect”.
Enough is enough
This episode has been the final straw in a long line of misdemeanours for DPAC. So, its petition is calling on the DWP boss to go. Bob Ellard from DPAC told The Canary:
We’ve seen a long succession of DWP ministers tell blatant lies and get away with it, but last week Esther McVey was caught out in a lie, and she was forced to go and apologise to Parliament.
But she still won’t resign, despite having broken the ministerial code that is supposed to govern the way ministers behave.
She’s broken the rules, and what is worse, she has broken people’s lives with the ‘Hostile Environment’ policies she has enacted on disabled people and others who have the misfortune to be in need of claiming benefits.
We want to send a signal out from all of the people who find her behaviour unacceptable with this petition, but to do this we need everyone to share and keep sharing it on social media.
We can do this, with people’s help, we can send a strong message that we will not tolerate this lying any longer.
By 8 July, the petition had over 6,500 signatures.
McVey must go. Again.
This is not the first time DPAC has expressed its outrage over McVey. As The Canary previously reported, when McVey was made secretary of state for the DWP in January, DPAC’s co-founder Linda Burnip told The Canary McVey was “the shit that rises to the top”. This was due to numerous controversies in her previous roles as disabilities minister and employment minister. The group was involved with the 2015 campaign to get McVey sacked. The now DWP boss lost her seat in the general election that year.
But she came back to parliament in 2017. This time, she ended up as head of the DWP. While McVey may just be the face of ideological Conservative policy, for disabled people she encapsulates everything that’s wrong with the government. That’s why they say it’s time for her to go, and quickly.