Friday, 15 March 2013

Extraordinary! DWP Refuse Point Blank to engage with Spartacus


A few weeks ago, Michael Meacher MP (Labour) came to see me in hospital. I had emailed him following his remarkable Atos debate, (the first to see cross party condemnation of ESA or Employment Support Allowance) to point out how much of the failure was the fault of Atos, and how much was actually controlled by the DWP.

He was astonished and riveted as we talked and suggested there and then we arrange a meeting with Iain Duncan smith. Mr Meacher asked myself, Kaliya Franklin and Tom Greatrex (@tomgreatrexmp) another Labour MP who has opposed Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) )

The extraordinary account of what happens next should be seen by every last person in the country. The following from Michael Meacher's blog......

"DWP Ministers run frit of seeing delegation on Atos HealthcareMarch 15th, 2013

This week something happened which is without precedent in my 40 years of Parliamentary experience. On an issue of acute public importance where there had already been a Parliamentary debate revealing a total cross-party consensus solidly opposed to government policy, a Departmental minister then refused to see a delegation to discuss the matter further and to consider necessary changes in procedure. This issue, the work capability assessments carried out by Atos Healthcare, has been a top-line matter on the political agenda for many months now. I had therefore written to Iain Duncan Smith on 31 January asking him to receive a delegation from some of the key campaigning and analytical groups (I had, regrettably, to restrict this to three). I heard nothing for more than 5 weeks and therefore put down a Parliamentary Question on the Commons Order Paper asking when he proposed to answer my letter. As a result I got an immediate reply from Mark Hoban, the junior minister dealing with Atos matters, saying “my current diary requirements mean I am unable to accept your invitation at this time”. That is simply civil service-speak for a flat No. But I have taken the matter further.

I therefore waylaid Hoban in the lobbies after a vote and as soon as he saw me, he said immediately “I’m not seeing you”. I was taken aback at his aggressiveness and said “But you can’t possibly do this , this is a matter of the highest political importance and it’s your responsibility to talk to and listen to key disability organisations about this matter, however contentious it might be”. He simply replied blankly “I’m not seeing you”, and repeated it 3 0r 4 times. I kept on insisting ‘Why not?’ and finally he said “I’m not seeing Spartacus”. Again I was taken aback and asserted that in my view Spartacus had analysed hundreds of cases, prepared a very detailed and thoughtful analysis of the implications arising from these cases, and even if he disagreed strongly for whatever reasons it was his responsibility to meet them. To this he simply kept repeating “I’m not meeting Spartacus”.

After thinking over this exchange later I decided to apply for an Adjournment debate, not on Atos as such, but on ‘Ministers’ refusal to accept a delegation on Atos Healthcare’. I also went to see the Speaker about what I consider to be the unprecedented and wholly unreasonable and unacceptable behaviour of DWP ministers, and he listened carefully. I am now very pleased to say that I have obtained an Adjournment debate next Thursday, 21st, at 5pm in the Commons chamber. I intend to use this opportunity to bring this whole matter to a head."

So whatever happens guys, it looks like we have a date. Next Thursday? 5pm? I'll bring popcorn if you promise to tell the whole world before then. 

40 comments:

  1. You've got them running, Sue!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Michael is my MP and I feel some pride in having him as my representative.
    He is a good man to have in your corner Sue, you and the Spartacus team deserve the very best support.
    Best wishes to you all

    xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. From memory, Bercow doesn't appreciate ministers running away from criticism. With any luck next Thursday could be a turning point in the way the government benches see their leaders - though I appreciate the tide's already turning on this, thanks to you and other dedicated campaigners. Average constituency MPs are already worried about re-election, stories like this won't help their morale!

    ReplyDelete
  4. IDS scared of a few disability campaigners. Think somehow the penny has dropped about his rancid bill, but his ego won't let him compromise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His ego's already far too big. Let's prick it, hard, and watch him lose his rag and utterly destroy himself. Oh, and get that vile moron of a git Hoban kicked out too.

      Delete
  5. you're so brave! *admiration*

    ReplyDelete
  6. Any thing we can do to help. It looks like IDS is out of touch as I said earlier this week remember IDS once said "Never underestimate the power o a quite man" we'll Mr Smith Don't you underestimate the power of the disable people.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love it, love it love it. They are WORRIED. And this is good.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Am looking forward to the response to the most! serious and valid case from SPARTACUS!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nothing surprises me about this lot. Every time I see IDS my blood boils. My partner as banned me from watching politics, because of the affect it was having on my health. But I can't just ignore what they're doing to us.

    Well done Sue and Spartacus!

    Age

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow!! they know what they are doing is unjustifiable so are trying to avoid being confronted with that so they then have is it 'plausible deniability'? What a star Michael Meacher is :D

    ReplyDelete
  11. They only want to "engage" with huge charities that they have in their pocket.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lets hope you have a good meeting. You have put in so much hard work for all disabled. A big thank you from me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Fab comments guys.

    I'm sure next Thursday will be dazzling. Definite "date in your diaries" stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Any chance you can get this into something like the Guardian - or any of the mainstreams?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Go for it Sue, thanks for fighting on behalf of us all. I suffer from hypermobility syndrome which causes chronic pain and my joints can semi dislocate at random, like you I see the world through opiate tinted glasses and also suffer from a form of ptsd which it's taken 14 yrs to start getting treatment to help me cope. My hubby had a breakdown 2 yrs ago through caring for me alone, applying for 700 jobs in a year and dwp saying he wasn't trying hard enough. We're both ATOS fit for work and now trying to sell our home before northern rock take it from us, don't know where we'll end up but at least we got each other. My heart goes out to those fighting this battle alone. Keep going lass and again thanx for all the hard work you've put in.

    ReplyDelete
  16. What's an adjournment debate?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An adjournment debate is simply a way in the Commons of having a general debate without requiring the House to vote.

      The MP who tabled the relevant adjournment debate is called to speak and a Minister will reply. The MP has no right of response, but can intervene in the Minister’s speech if he or she is willing to allow it (called ‘giving way’).

      http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/adjournment/

      Delete
    2. Thanks Marjorie. I expect it'll last about 10 minutes, 9 minutes and 30 seconds of which will be MM saying his part and 30 seconds of IDS or whoever saying it's all fine goodbye. That'll be that. If there's nothing forcing IDS or whoever to explain anything properly then you can rest assured they won't do it. Fact is they can't do it, they can't admit the entire point of the exercise is to take benefits away from people who have a legitimate claim. They will dodge questions forever unless they're in the dock being questioned by professionals. I don't expect this debate to yield anything of value except to alert more people things are seriously wrong at the DWP in general and with IDS in particular. What we can actually do about it is something else again. We're going to get to a crunch point where MM is being stepped on by his own party because people there don't want to be looked into too closely either, Yvette 'imaginary wheelchairs' Cooper for one I'd think. This will eventually lead I'm sure to the party splitting in two, very likely the same will happen to the Tories also. We'll be looking at a new political landscape eventually but this will all take time and there's going to be a lot of casualties along the way.

      Delete
  17. This is absolutely outrageous. Hats off to Michael Meacher and all your fabulous campaigning. I really hope this is the beginning of real change.

    ReplyDelete
  18. What a very brave lady you are. I know i speak for many in saying a huge thankyou for all you do. Good luck

    ReplyDelete
  19. Well done and good luck, this ATOS/DWP madness needs to come to an end and swiftly. I'm 100% sure that if some PM's who didn't tick the right box or jump through the right sized hoop had the money they live on suddenly stopped they'd sort it all very fast indeed. However picking on the disabled, sick and vulnerable doesn't affect their pay packet, this sort of thing should not be allowed to happen in a so called civilized and humane society. If it happened overseas they'd be sending aid packaged and calling it a humanitarian crisis! :(

    ReplyDelete
  20. These cowards don't want to be confronted with what they're doing, it might wake up their slumbering consciences. They don't have a mandate to do any of this and yet they still seem to find plenty of money when they want to help fight wars elsewhere... again with no mandate. I only hope the tipping point is close as more people and more people wake up to the Coalition's war on the disabled and poor. Thanks for your hard work Sue.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The Void: Labour Rally Round To Save Iain Duncan Smith’s Blushes
    http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/labour-to-rally-round-to-save-iain-duncan-smiths-blushes/

    :(

    ReplyDelete
  22. laying aside for a moment , the disabled sector, just when exactly will someone have the decency to admit that the ACT itself is nothing more than contentious , but with the force of law, is a direct violation of the human rights that are fundamental to all of society...and that they are not only to be given to the working man.
    Whoever conjured up the whole idea,and all those involved should be presented with numerous charges,and imprisoned forthwith..without bail.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you to you and Mr Meacher for all you do. .Time for IDS to pull the blinkers off and see the truth !

    ReplyDelete
  24. Utterly disgraceful behaviour from a Government Minister. It's about time Hoban and the DWP were knocked down a peg or two, and I'm glad Mr. Meacher is doing that.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Well done Sue, I can't tell you how grateful I am that you and all the others are continuing to fight on our behalf.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Excellent work Sue. You are helping to stand up for a lot of people here.

    Dee
    http://dwpnegligence.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. You are a hero Sue, we vote you in as the next leader of our country. Thanks so much and I will spread the word in between sleeping and do anything I can to help. xx

    Most importantly, don't forget to take care of yourself first and foremost! xx

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is exciting Sue, Thank you so much for all your efforts!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you Sue and Mr Meacher.

    ReplyDelete
  30. WOW that is great news! Congrats on creating such terror in IDS's camp! You are an inspiration to us all :) Xxx

    ReplyDelete
  31. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I sent Michael's blog to Hugh Salmon who is picking up on it - See what transpires! Have to admit it raised my spirits with a giggle xxx

    ReplyDelete
  33. Mark Hoban is my brother's MP. Apparently he's no better as a constituency MP than he is as a minister. Go gettim!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Osborne meets bank bosses 50 times in 2 years and the DWP won't meet Spartacus ONCE! This isn't a government at all, it's a corporatocracy!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thank you so much for all your hard work , you and M.M. have given me and thousands of others , going through the cruel ESA regime a light at the end of the tunnel.
    You are an inspiration !

    ReplyDelete
  36. Well, I've kicked my bowl of popcorn clear across the room in my frustration! I wasn't a bit surprised though to find that neither IDS nor Mark Hoban were present for the Adjournement Debate.

    The ministers seem to have scraped a hole in the bottom of their barrel looking for excuses. As Michael Meacher said, they are 'running frit', and I reckon it's because they know Spartacus has called their bluff before, and will probably do so again. And they will do so from the high ground which they still hold, unlike the blokes in the barrel.

    ReplyDelete
  37. How to write a resume - Creating a resume is a skill which needs practice and better understanding about your determination. Be 100% sure that spending another couple of minutes to learn how to make a resume will bring a ...

    ReplyDelete