17 January 2013
What: The debate is secured by Labour MP Michael Meacher, who says he has been sent nearly 300 case histories of people affected by the WCA, and adds: “I cannot begin to do justice to the feelings of distress, indignation, fear, helplessness and indeed widespread anger at the way they have been treated.” His Labour colleague Kevan Jones tells the coalition government that it has “blood on its hands” from the deaths of disabled people caused by the WCA. Jones says DWP has been asked to record the number of cases of suicide connected with the WCA but has refused. He says there have been “a number of well-publicised cases where people have taken their own lives because of this system”.
John McDonnell, later to be shadow chancellor under Jeremy Corbyn, says the system is unreformable and that “we will be to blame for every injury, every harm, every suicide, every death as a result of the system if we do not do something now to scrap it.”
Why significant: This was some of the earliest and most powerful parliamentary criticisms of the WCA, and provided substantial evidence that it was leading to deaths of disabled people, with many MPs detailing examples of harm caused to their own constituents.