27 January 2020
What: Labour MP Debbie Abraham mentions the deaths of Jodey Whiting and Errol Graham, asking the Commons: “Will the secretary of state consider, as a matter of urgency, an independent inquiry into the deaths of claimants in these circumstances?” Justin Tomlinson, the minister for disabled people, responds by attempting to blame Labour for Errol’s death, saying: “I thank the honourable lady for that question; she has been a long-standing campaigner against Labour’s work capability assessment, introduced in 2008. We agree: that is why we commissioned five independent reviews and implemented more than 100 recommendations. Working with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, we are making sure that our frontline staff are fully trained to be in the best place to identify people at risk of suicide.”
Why significant: Evidence of benefits related deaths being discussed in the Commons, while a government minister attempts to blame Labour, despite having been in power for nearly 10 years.