Parliament should have power to force Duncan Smith to resign over WCA deaths

The report that in just over 2 years up to  February last year no less than 2,380 disabled claimants died within 2 weeks of being assessed as fit for work and then having their benefit either reduced or stopped altogether, is beyond shocking.   It is arguably the most damning statistic yet of the sheer callousness and brutality of this government towards the most helpless victims in our society.   But there are further profound issues behind this dreadful story.   The most important issues are holding to account those who are responsible for this utter tragedy and even more important still, the power to stop this lethal policy in its tracks.   On both there is at present a vacuum.

Iain Duncan Smith by any measure of integrity ought to resign, but he almost certainly won’t.   And Parliament should have the power to trigger an immediate emergency debate, in this case demanding the policy be suspended until there had been a rapid inquiry into the work capability assessment with recommendations (if that is the result) that the policy be stopped or drastically changed, and the government if it lost the vote should be obliged within (say) 3 months to implement the recommendations in full.   Neither of these power currently exists, and it would require an almighty change in the whole process of government accountability for these powers to be granted, or rather forcibly extracted from the Westminster establishment.   A few of us however are laying plans for a Commission on Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Reform to bring this about.

There is another ugly side to this story.   Some of us have been demanding these figures for a very long time.   I myself initiated a debate in the House 3 years ago in response to the death of a constituent in just these circumstances.   The DWP refused in answer to PQs to give the figures, almost certainly at the instigation of IDS.   It is highly significant that we only now know the figures as a result of a Freedom of Information request which the DWP rejected, but the Information Commissioner to his credit overruled that block.   The DWP then had the gall to argue that they had always intended to publish the figures anyway!   Moreover the Information Commissioner’s ruling was delivered in April, and still it has taken the DWP 4 months to implement it, no doubt waiting till the dog days of August to release the information to try to ensure its minimum impact.

This is a terrible shameful example, not only of human cruelty to the severely disadvantaged, but of the complete breakdown in morality of the Cameron/Osborne/IDS government.   We now need that Commission on Parliamentary Democracy very badly.

35 thoughts on “Parliament should have power to force Duncan Smith to resign over WCA deaths

  1. yet m and m you outrage by it tony blair set this up through advice from unum yet hes getting away with it scot free but yourself should be asking are these the true figures has rtu ids hasnt told the truth from the off yet even this figure surpasses that action t4 of the nazi party who culled the stock without the people nowing about it but right now im hopping jc wins through so that then the houses of p can be cleaned out has many now are has bad has those crooks locked up the laws need to be changed no mp can have two masters even a company they own award themselves vast contracts towards themselves yet to many have lost their lives so that the crooked ways of the banksters could carry on are we now going to see a end to banksters through law change has they cant control their greed but has i said unum through blair set this in motion is tony blair getting backhanders from atos that initself is a quandie has this man gets fatter by the day thats his wallet yet perhaps you can ask that bishop who sups with old nick he hasnt done much to stem the flow of his lost sheep thats jr the ex oilman should be hanging his head in shame jeff3

  2. IBS must have something on Camoron or other establishment figures. He is a third rate politician whose hypocrisy is breathtaking in its audacity.

    We’re all familiar with his disgusting activities – from the underpants, expensive breakfasts to being reined in on his other expenses, lying on his CV, lying about his achievements (which are precisely zero – unless being grossly incompetent can be classed as an achievement), lying pretty much every time he opens his mouth.

    That this sociopath is allowed to have any power at all over the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable is a national disgrace.

  3. I am a chronic pain sufferer. I have been forced to deal with and manage pain for the last twenty to thirty years with little enough help from the NHS and struggling to live on a pittance from my National Insurance payments.
    In September 2012 an ATOS ‘Nurse’ subjected me to a cursory examination on the strength of which a DWP ‘Medical Expert’ told me to get in a wheelchair and get down to the Job Centre. I appealed against this ludicrous decision.
    In September 2013 I was told by a ‘Judge’ in Court that I “might be able to get some part-time light office work” and all my benefit was stopped.
    At the very least I’d like my money back and ALL those RESPONSIBLE for stopping it to be thrown out of their jobs, for which they are obviously not in the least bit qualified.
    It has been a vicious, scandalous fraud, the hideous extent of which has yet to see the light of day.

  4. “Beyond shocking”, Mr Meacher. My view is that this represents the crime of murder. Because some corporate MP is the means should not affect the retribution for such crime. Is not a member of GovCorp attacking the population covered under the treason ‘Act’?

    A country under attack by its own government was reported in the Daily Express decades ago. Remember? “Never before has the government of a mature democracy declared war upon its own population”. These were the words reported all those years ago. Now with weaponised immigration reducing us to a third world status courtesy of the US:-

    http://www.info-direkt.at/insider-die-usa-bezahlen-die-schlepper-nach-europa/

    (sorry, you will need to use a translate tool)

    We are in dire straits. People are beginning finally to comprehend the “globalist” conspiracy. Will this awakening be too late? I really do not know.

  5. Oh, goody, another talking shop only this time not a committee, but a commission!

    Too little, far too late for all the untimely deaths of those deemed fit for work!

    Where is the opposition to the government – oh, wait, sitting on their hands ‘abstaining’, while thousands of the electorate die at the hands of the private sector lackeys hired by DWP!

  6. Mr Meacher, the tragedy is that this is not the whole story by any means. The deaths are 3 times the rate that you would find in the general population, but if you factor in the suicides of people claiming JSA and Income Support, the numbers are much higher.

    I live in North Staffordshire, and even a couple of years ago, The Evening Sentinel ran a front page article, where the coroner stated that he was greatly concerned due to the sharp increase of the number of people who were committing suicide due to welfare reforms. It’s so bad, that Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council are seeking to fence off the multi storey car park because there have been so many people that have committed suicide there. Multiply this across the country, and the numbers would astound.

    These figures don’t even tell half a story: there are many more thousands that have needlessly died. This is corporate manslaughter on a massive scale. It is urgent that this is addressed as soon as possible by parliament. The fact that we are under investigation by the U.N. due to the treatment of disabled people, must stand for something; a disgrace for the 6th richest country in the world. What are all of these political meetings and processes for? Just to make the members feel better, that they ‘considered’ us? What are the plethora of our ‘Committee’ meetings in the U.K. really for, if the findings never actually change anything?! It seems that no one has the power to stop this!

    I am very sick, like many others, and in the same week as the figures were released, we are told that we now have to make ourselves ready for some work: this is totally insensitive and disgusting! I spend sometimes 3 days, living on the toilet, in absolute agony; other times, I’m so sick that every time I stand up, my heart condition kicks in; the myoclonic jerks make me fall; I have such extreme fatigue that I can hardly sit upright: how am I supposed to attend the job centre or a work placement of even a few hours in such a state?

    Some of us can barely make it around our own homes, let alone live on the horrendous terms that ‘job seekers’ are expected to bear, and they are desperate too, health or no health. They are treated like a pool of slaves for big business to tap into, to be paid thousands per payment for them to ‘volunteer’ their time. They are allowed no holidays, they even have to prove that they’ve done 7 hours of ‘job seeking’ on christmas day for goodness sake? Whilst existing staff have their hours cut: can no one see that this is morally and ethically wrong? People are being hounded to death. It’s got so bad that everyone will now know someone who has either committed suicide, or died due to the pressure of being made to find work when they are not well enough. I do.

    Enough is enough. Some of us are developing new illnesses due to the extreme pressure we’re subjected to. I have angina now on top of everything else; it was bad enough before, but the pressure of constantly never knowing if you’ll have a home or an income from day to day is too much to bear. I have to face a care reassessment next week conducted by someone who you’d be lucky if they had even a GCSE: that’s how far standards of ‘care’ have dropped – we used to have degree educated social workers to advocate for us, but no more.

    We feel we are facing a death sentence if forced to do things we are not capable of. We need to be left alone to try and cope with the horror of our lives that we already face, let alone what Ian Duncan Smith ‘believes’ disabled people capable of. The propaganda is so bad, that even friends are questioning why people like me should be left alone, whilst I’m having massive chest pains, enduring bowel spasms, or collapsing in front of them when I have myoclonic jerks. The empathy is gone, and I never thought I’d see that from people that I’ve known for so long.

    We need someone to help us: please help us before more people lose their lives in this senseless way!

    Sasson Hann

  7. The whole of this evil government should be forced to resign! They are completely out of touch, lacking in morals and should be ousted immediately.

  8. Many of us have known about this for years. You and other MPs have raised the issue in Parliament, only to have IDS deny anything was amiss, so your concerns were ignored, even when detailed and factual evidence was produced.

    I understand the UN is looking into this, although their procedures are painfully slow. Perhaps now that this evidence has officially come to light, they could be speeded up?

    In the meantime the WCA procedures should most certainly be suspended and an urgent review conducted. People who are already sick are not only dying, but suffering extreme hardship. This cannot be allowed to continue. The system is also self defeating in that it prevents many people from getting better (in my case all the stress and anxiety made my condition much worse, even though I don’t have any M/H problems; it actually prevented my return to work).

    There is also a suspicion that the delay in publishing these figures was due to them being “massaged” to look as “favourable” as possible, so the truth could be even worse.

    Of course IDS should resign, and even be prosecuted, along with his co-conspirators, Osborne and Cameron.

    I would also have thought that this would be reason enough to bring down the government? A government that knowingly contributes to the deaths of its most vulnerable citizens surely cannot be permitted to continue? Especially the government of a rich country such as ours. Could this be a possibility?

    #JC4PM B4 2020 – wouldn’t that just be great!

  9. Until this Commission on Parliamentary Democracy is established, why not make full use of the Standards Commission and Demand Kathryn Hudson do her job?

  10. Lost for words, I don’t believe for one minute these figures are a true account, IDS has never told the truth and is a master in bullying and wasting billions on his murderous policies.

    The more I read it appears politics is quite a complicated issue and it’s only those involved like Mr. Meacher that understand the process’s involved.

    Surely M.P.’s who are funded by the tax payer to act in the interests of the citizens of the UK can not allow this type of behaviour to continue. Basically it’s back door genocide a horror story we have learnt in the past brought on by Hitler and the nazis.

    What type of a country have we become when we allow this to happen is beyond human comprehension.

    As a retired expert witness I know full well should one lie in court you can be held in contempt and put away in prison for such an act.

    Why therefore can this be allowed to happen within central government does not make any sense whatsoever.

  11. with all due respect Mr. Meacher, we don’t wont him to resign, we want him and his cronies prosecuted for Corporate Manslaughter. He has known what has been going on for 5 years and did NOTHING to change it, in fact he made things worse, only when forced to release the figures does he suddenly decide that the WCA is “Not fit for Purpose”

  12. More to the truth IDS is not fit for the purpose, are the politicians the subject of diplomatic immunity or can a case be brought against them in a court of law, does any body know about this?.

    Surely a fund could be raised by the many of us to finance a law suit to bring those responsible to justice, surely they are not above the law.

  13. Yes IDS should be forced out of office one way or another – he should also be provided with a one-way ticket to the Hague so that he can be dealt with as is appropriate for someone guilty of crimes against humanity.

  14. If ever I won the lottery I would be taking out a private prosecution against the MPs who have knowingly murdered people by cutting off there support allowance which is common practice theses days especially to the disabled

    PM David Cameron
    DWP Ian Duncan Smith
    Chancellor George Osborne

    Have all contributed to this Psychological bullying
    They are causing able bodied and disabled people to commit suicide by bullying them into work through cutting off there support allowance. This Government will not release the true suicide figures caused by this practice .

    Its about time they were investigated as in any other work place this would not be permitted by any employer or employee. Not even the police will touch them for what reason no one knows.

    How many more people must die before someone stands up and does something about it.

    Has its unlikely that I will not win the the lottery soon it would be a good idea to set up a fund by the people of the UK and take this Government to court.

    The UK People v The British Government

  15. When parliament is in session MPs lie on a daily basis. Iain Duncan Smith has claimed that “hardship payments”were available to sanctioned benefit claimants. (Doubtful – and certainly many benefit claimants were unaware of the supposed existence of these payments. ) He has also said that disabled people did not pay bedroom tax because they claimed DHP. That is most certainly untrue. The clue is in the name DISCRETIONARY Housing Payment. Not all disabled people get it, and they have no guarantee that they will still get it after 3 months when they need to make a repeat application.

    This really infuriates me. Nobody challenges what they say, nobody corrects it even if their speeches contain howling factual errors which would get you an “F” if you wrote them in a GCSE essay. Making false declarations can get you sanctioned if you are on benefits. Why can’t MPs be made to tell the truth in Parliament? If sacking them was too draconian, why not ask that a written acknowledgement regarding factual errors, and corrections/apologies/clarifications be added to their speech retrospectively in Hansard.

  16. I welcome this statement from Meacher, and endorse his urgent call for Commission on Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Reform, in order to facilitate the ability of Parliament – the ostensible representatives of the people – to hold monsters like IDS to account.

    However, were was the Labour Party when the SNP extended a call to them to join them in an alliance of progressive politics to oppose the obscenity of IDS’s welfare ‘reforms’? Labour’s official policy was to abstain, and to their shame, most of them did. Such is the monstrosity of the current Tory regime, that the entire opposition benches have a moral duty to the most vulnerable people in society to unite to oppose them. Think on, Labour – or you may face the same oblivion in England as you experienced in Scotland in May’s General Election.

    Beyond this – is there no way a cross party group of MP’s, perhaps in partnership with relevant charities, could raise a case against IDS with the ECHR for the manslaughter of UK citizens, or some other appropriate charge? Something really does need to be done by the nation’s representatives – and quickly, lives are being lost and the welfare state destroyed.

  17. As distasteful as Smith is he is only doing what he is told. If he were to resign would it change anything? No it won’t .it certainly won’t bring back the people he has helped murder . I’m sure he will say he was only doing his job but that excuse didn’t wash at the Nuremberg trials nor does it wash today .he needs to be arrested for crimes against humanity!

  18. I think that’s a fantastic idea to make a fund to cover the cost of justice, and to make IDS accountable for everything he has done, and still doing. He should be imprisoned in a secure prison for the criminally insane, and be kept there until he dies, without any medication.

  19. “This is a terrible shameful example, not only of human cruelty to the severely disadvantaged, but of the complete breakdown in morality of the Cameron/Osborne/IDS government.”

    There needs to have been some morality to break down in the first place!

  20. From The Independent:
    The UN is to visit the UK to investigate whether Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms have caused “grave or systematic violations” of disabled peoples’ human rights, it has been reported.

    A leading disability charity says that they have been contacted by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as part of an investigation into human rights abuses against disabled people in the UK.

    Inclusion Scotland, a consortium of disability organisations in Scotland, says the UN committee has advised them that they will be sending a Special Rapporteur to the UK in the “near future” as part of their probe.

    Director of Policy Bill Scott told The Sunday Herald: “The UN have notified us they will be visiting Britain to investigate… and want to meet with us when they come, sometime in the next few months.”

  21. In the mean time the great cull goes on ops human rights whot are they going to do notalot to this lot of devils jeff3

  22. Interesting that an anagram of Iain Duncan Smith’s name turns out to be “Indict as inhuman”. Very apt.

  23. I’m the person who forced this information out of the DWP. The Department had appealed against the Information Commissioner’s ruling and only gave up when I submitted an application for the appeal to be struck out as an abuse of process.

    The DWP’s response to my FoI request shows three things very clearly:

    Firstly, that the DWP is very bad at responding to FoI requests – in terms of both timing and content. The response is deliberately written to make it as opaque as possible, and does not include all the information I requested, and this reflects poorly on both the department and its ministers. Therefore I shall be writing to the First-tier Tribunal (information rights), asking that a hearing scheduled for November 10 should still take place because the DWP has not answered my request.

    Secondly, that despite the poor quality of the report, it is clear that the work capability assessment is not fit for purpose and the misallocation of people with long term illnesses – either into the work-related activity group or into the jobs market, classified ‘fit for work’ – has certainly led to needless deaths. Iain Duncan Smith said as much last week but it should not save him. Evidence that this was the case has been available since December 2011, when the number of deaths of people on ESA tripled – yes, tripled – in comparison with the average for the previous 11 months. The DWP and its ministers have been hiding this information from us for nearly four years. In the eyes of the law, that is criminal negligence – corporate manslaughter.

    Thirdly, that the principles on which Employment and Support Allowance was designed are causing deaths. When Mrs Mike’s Contributory ESA ran out (she used to be in the work-related activity group), her benefit was cut off with no notification or advice about what to do next. How many others have received the same treatment? Many, it seems, according to the DWP’s statistics which show that the number of ‘unknown’ cases (into which these people are thrown as their NI credits are still paid) has dropped while the proportion of deaths in that group has increased hugely, year on year.

    Other conclusions are available, although it could be argued that more evidence is needed.

    For now, we need to see the elimination of the work capability assessment and the prosecution of the ministers who hid the facts from us for nearly four years.

    Is that enough to start with?

  24. Mr Iain Duncan Smith should ,beyond a doubt, be tried for corporate manslaughter. He has totally abused his ministerial code, and should be removed from his office as per the governments sanction, that we can remove MP’s who are dishonest and who under perform. This of course will not happen as the Tory party are a party of mistruths, and only public pressure by the masses would be able to change this.

  25. i agree but he should do the right thing and resign, the police should arrest him and lock this man up for the rest of his life as he was sitting on the facts of what his changes had done and in that fact murdered each and ever one of them people. and you can not tell me that Cameron and Osborne did not know anything about this as they did so they should resign also and be locked up as they let this go on and tried to cover it up.

  26. I forgot to say also i think the numbers that have been released have been cooked up and the figures are higher, which is the saddest part so many lifes have been lost when there was no need.

  27. I just wanted to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Mike Sivier for his determination. And I hope this encourages more people to follow your blog Mr Meacher.

  28. I see no issue with WCA – if you are applying to get some tax payer’s money, it is only right that some form of assessment is carried out to evaluate whether you qualify.

    Whilst I suppose that having to attend a WCA might come as a bit of a shock to some people, I doubt that the shock is sufficient to kill anyone.

    I notice that Mr Meacher doesn’t mention that it was Labour that introduced WCA (actually one of their better ideas).

  29. Well said Mr Meacher! Unfortunately, I doubt that IDS will ever be brought to book for his crimes. David Cameron & George Osbourne are also complicit in the crimes that IDS has committed. If he were in any other job, he would have been arrested and jailed, faster than you can blink. He MUST have something over the other two, no one could refuse to give up their job like he has without it.

    Sadly, I think that this sociopath will continue to make those unfortunate to be unemployed, sick or disabled live their lives in constant fear & misery. His latest “bright idea” is to target those with mental health problems. Does he even understand the subject of mental health? I doubt it and furthermore I doubt he even cares. All he believes is that he is right, he is always right and will continue to be right. He is evil to the core and that he can quote the words that are over the gates of Auschwitz, that “work sets you free” as a mantra to get people off of social security is surely the greatest testament to the sick & twisted mind that is IDS.

    I can hope that things will change but I doubt very much they will and that is a sad but true indictment of this once great country of ours. A place where fairness, support & understanding were once rife but is now a hatred towards those less fortunate ridden place.

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