The last time most of us heard of Esther McVey, she had been handed a £530-a-day job at the British Transport Police Authority as a consolation prize for losing Wirral West in the 2015 general election.
It paid £32,000 a year but she was only required to work 60 days. Barring sickies, she’ll have worked a little more than 120 days in this job, so far. It must be exhausting for her; my heart bleeds.
Westminster will be much less troubling for her, I’m sure – but not for the rest of us.
Perhaps the best way to demonstrate to the people of Tatton that electing her is a terrible decision, is to recall some of the terrible decisions – by which I mean lies – she made, last time she was in Parliament.
Fortunately, I have already written an article on exactly this subject! In it, I pointed out:
“This is a woman who has lied to the public that it is impossible to carry out a cumulative assessment of the impact on the sick and disabled of the Coalition’s ‘final solution’ changes to the benefit system.
“This is the woman who, in the face of public unrest about the prevalence of zero-hours contracts, announced that Job Centre advisors will now be able to force the unemployed into taking this exploitative work.
“She has previously misled Parliament over the loophole in Bedroom Tax legislation that meant the government had removed Housing Benefit from thousands of people who were exempt from the measure – including Stephanie Bottrill, whose suicide has been attributed to the pressure of having to survive on less because of the tax. Asked how many people had been affected by the loophole, McVey played it down by claiming she did not know the answer, while other ministers suggested between 3,000 and 5,000. In fact, from Freedom of Information requests to which just one-third of councils responded, 16,000 cases were revealed.
“Mark Hoban stood in for McVey to trot out the lie that independent reviews of the Work Capability Assessment had identified areas of improvement on which the government was acting. In fact, out of 25 recommendations in the Year One review alone, almost two-thirds were not fully and successfully implemented.
“In a debate on food banks, McVey’s lies came thick and fast: She accused the previous Labour government of a “whirl of living beyond our means” that “had to come to a stop” without ever pausing to admit that it was Tory-voting bankers who had been living beyond their means, who caused the crash, and who are still living beyond their means today, because her corporatist (thank you, Zac Goldsmith) Conservative government has protected them.
“She accused Labour of trying to keep food banks as “its little secret”, forcing Labour’s Jim Cunningham to remind us all that food banks were set up by churches to help refugees who were waiting for their asylum status to be confirmed – not as a support system for British citizens, as they have become under the Coalition’s failed regime.
“She said the Coalition government was brought in to “solve the mess that Labour got us in”, which is not true – it was born from a backroom deal between two of the most unscrupulous party leaders of recent times, in order to ensure they and their friends could get their noses into the money trough (oh yes, there’s plenty of money around – but this government is keeping it away from you).
“She said the Coalition had got more people into work than ever before – without commenting on the fact that the jobs are part-time, zero-hours, self-employed contracts that benefit the employers but exploit the workers and in fact propel them towards poverty.
“She lied to Parliament, claiming that children are three times more likely to be in poverty if they are in a workless household. In fact, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, in-work poverty has now outstripped that suffered by those in workless and retired households; children are more likely to be in poverty if their parents have jobs.
“She attacked Labour for allowing five million people to be on out-of-work benefits, with two million children in workless households – but under her government the number of households suffering in-work poverty has risen to eight million (by 2008 standards), while workless or retired households in poverty have risen to total 6.3 million.
“She claimed that 60,000 people were likely to use a food bank this year – but Labour’s Paul Murphy pointed out that 60,000 people will use food banks this year in Wales alone. The actual figure for the whole of the UK is 500,000.
“She said the Coalition’s tax cuts had given people an extra £700 per year, without recognising that the real-terms drop in wages and rise in the cost of living means people will be £1,600 a year worse-off when the next general election takes place, tax cuts included. She said stopping fuel price increases meant families were £300 better-off, which is nonsense. Families cannot become better off because something has not happened; it’s like saying I’m better off because the roof of my house hasn’t fallen in and squashed me.
“Her talents won exactly the recognition they deserved when her Wikipedia entry was altered to describe her as “the Assistant Grim Reaper for Disabled People since 2012, second only to Iain Duncan Smith. She was previously a television presenter and businesswoman before deciding to branch out into professional lying and helping disabled people into the grave.”
“In her food bank speech, she also said the government had brought in Universal Credit to ensure that three million people become better-off. There’s just one problem with that system – it doesn’t work.”
It is clear that Esther McVey should not be allowed anywhere near Parliament, and it is an indictment against the Conservative Party that it has decided to parachute her into Tatton. The good people of that constituency should want nothing to do with her.
Unfortunately, the good people of Tatton gave George Osborne – George Osborne! – a majority of 18,000 at the 2015 election.
What were they thinking?
I fear for the future if they let the woman who was once nicknamed “Fester McVile” slither back into Westminster.
Esther McVey has been selected as the Conservative candidate in Tatton after former Chancellor George Osborne said he would not to stand for re-election.
Former minister and Wirral West MP Ms McVey was chosen to contest the Cheshire constituency at a Conservative Party selection meeting on Wednesday.
Mr Osborne said he was leaving Parliament “for now” as he becomes the Evening Standard editor.
Ms McVey lost her seat as MP for Wirral West to Labour in the 2015 elections.
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