Dear Mr Rees –Mogg,
I was very disappointed to find that you and one other MP voted against an inquiry into the effects of the government’s Welfare Reform policies.
As a disabled person, long time disability rights activist, and one of your constituents , I find your actions heartless and short- sighted to say the least.
While a hundred and twenty five of your fellow MP’s (finally) voted for an inquiry into these damaging, divisive, and compassionless policies, you wanted to ignore them.
You wanted to ignore the plight of disabled people, 10,700 of which (at last official count) have died after being wrongly found ‘fit for work’ by ATOS, many through suicide.
You wanted to ignore the devastating impact of Bedroom Tax, which has contributed to a rise in homelessness and hardship across the country.
You wanted to ignore the many families who can no longer afford to put food on the table as a result of the brutal benefit sanctions your government has imposed on some of the most vulnerable in society.
You were elected to represent all the people of Bath and North East Somerset, both the successful and the disaffected, and as a disabled person, you have failed me, and others like me.
May I take this opportunity to remind you that many of the benefit claimants you have chosen to dismiss, are in fact ‘in work,’ but they need the benefits to top up disgustingly low wages.
Contrary to what your government may have the rest of society believe, being on benefits is not a ‘lifestyle choice’. It is a heartbreaking necessity for most.
I have had Cerebral Palsy since birth, and as you know when I spoke to you on the phone (virtually in tears), I would give anything to live a ‘normal’ life. I’d love to be able to be a mother and manage a full-time job, but because of my disability and related health conditions I simply don’t have those options.
It breaks my heart to know that the government is systematically punishing, victimising and destroying the lives of people like me.
It is something that damages my faith in democracy. It is depressing to know that my MP lacks the empathy and understanding (despite the ‘Christian’ virtues he always espouses) to at least support an inquiry into where the policies are hurting people in the name of a conservative ideology of dismantling the state.
Disabled people and those at the lower end of society are being ignored, lied about and blatantly bullied by the government. But it is no surprise that those like yourself who are staunchly very much on the right wing would not want those things exposed in any inquiry.
Disability Rights Campaigner
Full Transcript of debate (from Hansard), including vote results.
This letter was sent to the local press on 14th January 2014,
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