MPs from all parties yesterday showed that they’re not taking the issue of poverty seriously. as only 13 bothered to turn up to debate a scathing UN report. Yesterday evening was the first chance MPs had to debate the findings of the United Nations Report on Extreme Poverty & Human Rights in the UK and NI. Despite this, only 14 MPs bothered to turn up with new Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd sending a junior minister in her place instead.
Following his visit in November, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur, Professor Philip Alston gave a scathing report on the level of poverty in the UK. He said that despite clear evidence that people are suffering, Ministers are in denial.
He went on criticise welfare reforms such as Universal Credit, saying it leaves victims of domestic abuse at risk and has contributed to the rise of foodbank use.
Despite Prof Alston presenting clear evidence of the scale of suffering being caused, not to mention it’s in the media daily, Amber Rudd’s used her first speech as Work and Pensions Secretary to dismiss the report as it was “highly political in nature.”
This is a tactic that has been used no less than five times now by the Tories following each of the five UN reports since 2010. When a previous report stated the government had “created a human catastrophe” for disabled people, they called its author a “loony leftie.”
MPs show disrespect to those who’re suffering
Last night, Monday January 7th, saw Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children, Emma Lewell-Buck host a debate on the UN report. With poverty being such an important issue currently affecting the UK & NI you’d think that MPs would do their utmost to attend the debate. Despite having only returned from Christmas Recess the same day, only 14 MPs bothered to turn up.
Amber Rudd didn’t even bother to go, instead sending Junior Minister Justin Tomlinson to represent the government.
I don’t care what party you support, this is universally unacceptable. People are literally dying from the effects of austerity. Despite claiming they are looking out for their constituents, MPs have shown that they don’t really care.
Universal Credit is causing debt, foodbank use and mental health issues to rise. Homelessness has risen since 2010 and more and more rough sleepers are dying.
Disability Assessments are causing people to take their own lives because claimants are suddenly being told they’re no longer disabled by an untrained civil servant. Every MP should have tried their hardest to attend.
Some may use the excuse as the debate was late, approx 10pm, therefore they could not attend. They have been on holiday for two weeks and their job is to represent the people who elect them. If the House of Commons is still in session, they are still on the clock.
Is this a harsh stance to take? No not really, MPs are fully aware that hours can be long and besides, they have no issue debating Brexit until 1am. Time isn’t an excuse when 14 million people are relying on their MP to speak for them.
14 million people were abandoned last night by the very people who claim to be looking out for their best interests.
14 million people were shown that they don’t matter enough to be represented.
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