Conflict of interest call for Esther McVey to be removed from DWP

Labour expressed ‘grave concern’ about Esther McVey because HSE prohibition notices are an area covered by the DWP [Image: Alastair Grant/AP].

The government wants you to think there’s nothing to this.

Esther McVey, the new Work and Pensions Secretary, was a director of a company served with health and safety prohibition notices in the past – and this is problematic because it’s an area covered by the DWP.

The Tories are saying it’s no big deal – but this is a 180-degree about-face from the situation when she became Employment Minister.

That was in 2013 – 10 years after the notices were served on JG McVey and Co because of unsafe scaffolding. Ms McVey’s brief would have included oversight of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) but that element of her job was removed after her connection to the infringements became clear.

So the question is simple:

If it was sufficient reason to prohibit Ms McVey from responsibility for the HSE then, why isn’t it sufficient reason now?

This seems to be a subject the government is keen to avoid – and the message appears to have been passed down to its compliant media.

When Barry Gardiner raised the subject on the BBC’s Sunday Politics, presenter Sarah Smith tried to shut him up.

Quite rightly, he stuck to his guns, as this clip from the Skwawkbox blog shows:

The issue seems to be clear: If Ms McVey was incapable of preventing breaches of Health and Safety law as a company director, how can the public have faith that she can correctly carry out her duty in that respect, as Secretary of State?

The Departmental spokesperson’s claim that the compliance notices were handled “to a satisfactory standard at the time” is neither here nor there.

We have no evidence that Ms McVey understood the reasons for the enforcement notice – and, after being a part of a government that participated in a wholesale “bonfire” of “red tape”, that she ever understood the need for such things.

How can we expect her to do her duty properly?

Better not to risk any wrong decisions. Better not to give her the opportunity. Better to admit Ms McVey’s appointment was a mistake.

But Theresa May doesn’t have the right qualities. She has too much arrogance and not enough courage.

So we must wait for the mistakes to happen and highlight any cover-ups that may follow.

Labour has called on Theresa May to rethink the appointment of Esther McVey as work and pensions secretary because McVey was a director of a demolition company served with health and safety prohibition notices, an area covered by her department.

Jon Trickett, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, has written to the prime minister saying he had grave concern about McVey’s promotion in this week’s reshuffle because of the two notices served on the firm in 2003 owing to unsafe scaffolding.

The notices from the Health and Safety Executive were against JG McVey and Co, a now-closed firm run by McVey’s father. Esther McVey was a director of the company from February 2003 to March 2006.

In July 2003, HSE inspectors issued an immediate prohibition notice, stopping work at a demolition site in Liverpool after workers were seen using scaffolding without proper protective edge rails. In September that year, work was halted on the site for the same reason.

In 2013, McVey was made employment minister in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), a brief which initially included oversight of the HSE. However, after her connection to the infringements came to light, that element of the job was removed.

As work and pensions secretary – a job she gained after Justine Greening opted to leave the government rather than take on the brief – McVey now has overall responsibility for workplace health and safety among her duties.

Source: Calls for Theresa May to reconsider Esther McVey’s move to DWP | Politics | The Guardian


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7 thoughts on “Conflict of interest call for Esther McVey to be removed from DWP

  1. jeffrey davies

    its called fraud and may and her hubby are at it with the rest of our mps traitors gate needs opening

  2. Nick

    Esther McVey is a very controversial choice as the Work and Pensions Secretary if ever there was one

    Many hundreds of sick and disabled in going through welfare reform have died as a result of her inability to keep the DWP free from repeated negligent decisions from being made

    had she been involved in a hospital for example where hundreds of unexpected deaths were taking place the police would have become involved and it’s as simple as that at the end of the day

    At the moment the sick and disabled are at risk every day when they go to a atos etc medical if they will ever make it home having committed suicide and that’s the bottom line nothing more nothing less

    the police investigating these welfare deaths should be asking wont went on at that medical? or at a home visit that has led to that death and not as this time as far as I know it’s nothing to do with us?

    Esther McVey could under the present laws where the police cant get involved could go on with this negligent approach and wipe out the sick and disabled from society at best living any type of life outside the home or at worse make their lives hell knowing full well there kill themselves and get away with it scot free

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      There’s an easy way to keep the DWP free from repeated negligent decisions being made – keep Esther McVey, and people like her, out of that Department.

  3. Ann Ford

    McVey is in the DWP for her very obvious cruelty not her ability to look after Health and Safety.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      She might be levered out of the DWP because of her inability to look after health and safety, though.

  4. Ian McGibbon

    “If it was sufficient reason to prohibit Ms McVey from responsibility for the HSE then, why isn’t it sufficient reason now?”

    Because it was 14 or so years ago and maybe she has reflected on it and learnt her lesson.

    What a complete and utter nonsense of an article and Gardiner should look at more important things to be complaining about, i.e. her hapless record in government and what she is doing now.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Considering her record in government, is it really practical to suggest that Ms McVey has learned any lessons at all? I would suggest not.
      Remember, she was promoted to her Employment Minister job in 2013, only four years and a few weeks ago – so a decade had already passed between that and her health and safety blunder.
      Also, you seem to be trying to create a false either/or distinction. It is perfectly possible to criticise the decision to give her responsibility for the HSE alongside all the other reasons she should not be Secretary of State at the DWP.

Comments are closed.