Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sarah Teather criticises Nick Clegg over welfare

Huffington Post has a report on Sarah Teather's criticism of Nick Clegg on Newsnight on Friday.

The Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central appeared as part of a debate on welfare and the church in politics more generally. You can watch the whole segment on the BBC iPlayer - that link should take you to the start of it.

One of the reasons for this item was the criticism by Vincent Nicholls, the Archbishop of Liverpool,  of the government's welfare policies last week. He said the welfare system had gone "seriously wrong" when thousands were relying on food handouts.

In reply Nick Clegg had said "I think to say that the safety net has been removed altogether is an exaggeration, is not right." He then went on to channel Tony Blair:
"So, look, we're trying to get the balance right. The country's gone through an incredibly difficult time; there are people who, of course, face very difficult circumstances, but I think the way to move forward is to make sure there's always an incentive for people to work when they can do so."
On Newsnight Sarah talked of "rather a patronising response from my leader" that was "not very helpful and not, in my view, very well informed either".

She went on to say:
"If I think about the experience of a lot of my constituents I'm afraid I'm seeing far too many people who are made destitute and put into severe poverty by the benefit changes. 
"For example I had a woman where the whole of the last trimester of her pregnancy she had no money whatsoever.
"I had another case where somebody was sanctioned for failing to turn up to an appointment when she was having surgery for cancer. 
"So I'm afraid the Archbishop's criticism this week really chimes with my own experience."
MPs with no political ambition left can be dangerous. They may speak the truth.

1 comment:

Squirrel Nutkin said...

Pedant's Corner: although born in Crosby, Vincent Nicholls is the Archbishop of Westminster (and formerly Bishop of Birmingham, not Liverpool), succeeding Cormac Rigby on harmonica.