Monday’s ‘reshuffle’ of Theresa May’s cabinet was largely a non-event, with none of the ‘big beasts’ moved and Jeremy Hunt keeping his job by – allegedly – crying about it.
However, it contained two darker notes. May’s failure to promote a single black, Asian or ethnic minority person to her cabinet – and only a handful of women in its new composition – which left it extremely ‘male, pale and stale’, was one.
The other was the appointment of the odious Esther McVey to the position of DWP Secretary.
This is not McVey’s first time in the Department for Work and Pensions. She previously served as disabilities minister under the equally terrible Iain (Duncan) Smith – and worked with him on a PIP (Personal Independence Payment) switch that was specifically pre-designed to remove at least 500,000 people from the vital benefit.
McVey was also at the heart of the government’s change to mobility requirements that reduced the disqualifying distance a disabled person could walk to 20 metres, which caused tens of thousands to lose vital ‘motability’ allowances, with many becoming virtually or fully housebound.
Her come-uppance for her attack on the wellbeing of disabled people was the loss of her Wirral West seat in 2015 to Labour’s Margaret Greenwood – but she was handed a safe Cheshire seat in last year’s General Election to get her back into Parliament.
And now she is running the department where she caused so much hardship and anxiety for disabled people.
Theresa May could not send a bigger ‘f*** you’ to disabled and disadvantaged people if she had it painted in huge letters along the sides of the Houses of Parliament.
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