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Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam, Emily Brothers was scathing about her Lib Dem opponent backing of the Welfare Minister, following widely condemned remarks about disabled people. Labour held a vote of No Confidence in Lord Freud following his remarks at the recent Conservative Party conference that some disabled people are “not worth the full wage” and suggesting some should be paid £2 per hour. Subsequently Ed Miliband challenged David Cameron to dismiss the Tory Peer from Government, but he still remains in post with Lib Dem support. Local Lib Dem, Paul Burstow MP, backed Lord Freud’s comments by voting on 28/10/14 against the vote of no confidence. In response, Ms Brothers who herself has a disability said:
“The ‘nasty’ reputation of the Tories has clearly held up, but also now contaminates Lib Dem thinking, as Paul Burstow strives to defend outrageous comments about disabled people.
“I’m appalled that Mr Burstow has stood up for prejudice of this kind. It is very worrying that he shares the Welfare Minister’s view that some disabled people are not worth a full wage.
“In my view, Lord Freud’s remarks were completely unacceptable. It is also unacceptable that someone with these views remains in charge of welfare policy.
“Even Ester McVey, the Coalition’s Minister of State for Employment, said: ‘those words will haunt him. I cannot justify those words, they were wrong.”’ So how can local MP, Paul Burstow justify those views?
“It is incredible to believe that, while leading disability charities have said that Lord Freud’s comments were offensive and shocking and called on him to reflect on his position, Mr Burstow has lacked the moral courage to stand by disabled people by backing these unacceptable comments.
“Prior to the debate I wrote to Paul Scully, Conservative, asking him to set out his position. By failing to respond leads me to a conclusion that compassion is well and truly dead amongst Conservatives.
”I didn’t write to Mr Burstow before the vote because he has a reasonable track record on disability issues, giving him the benefit of doubt. Yet this vote tarnishes his reputation, showing his true colours as an economic Liberal – hardwired to market forces in which disabled people apparently have no fair place.
“This example of intolerance towards disabled people demonstrates yet again, vote for either Paul and you’ll get squeezed by more austerity, struggle to find any compassion and be offended by their patronising attitude.
“Lord Freud’s suggestion that disabled people are not “worth” the full minimum wage has touched a nerve because it comes from the heart of a coalition government that has a problem valuing and respecting disabled people.
“Under the coalition disabled people are not getting the support they need to get into suitable jobs. Disabled people are also suffering from problems with the Work Capability Assessment, delays to the Personal Independence Payment assessments and the unfair and unworkable Bedroom Tax, which mainly hits disabled people and their families.
“We need a sea-change in attitude and approach from this government towards disabled people – respecting and enforcing our rights as equal citizens and properly valuing and rewarding their contribution to our economy and society.”






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