The day Esther McVey lost her seat (clue, it wasn’t today)

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May 8, 2015 by Paul Goldsmith

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Esther McVey didn’t lose her Wirral West seat today, Esther McVey lost her Wirral West seat on December 18th 2013. What the Tories thought they were doing giving a welfare brief to an MP defending a small minority in Liverpool is anybody’s guess, but what was worth was the position she was put in that day 18 months’ ago in a debate on food banks in the House of Commons.

As a line of Labour MPs spoke of the hardships being suffered by many in their constituencies, including how people with full time jobs were having to rely on food banks as their pay was so low, McVey was sat next to Iain Duncan Smith on the Government front bench. They were accused of ‘smirking’ as these stories were told, and eventually Duncan-Smith left early, halfway through the debate. This left McVey to speak, and I have not forgotten what she said.

“In the UK it is right that more people are… going to food banks because as times are tough, we are all having to pay back this £1.5 trillion debt personally which spiralled under Labour, we are all trying to live within our means, change the gear and make sure that we pay back all our debt which happened under them.”

This made it possible for McVey to have been reported to have said that it is ‘good’ or that it is ‘right’ that people were using food banks. That she fell back on such an easy political line as blaming the debt that was left by a Labour instead of coming up with any answers about the low pay, job insecurity, problems with paying benefits that was causing it. 

She knew full well that there were plenty of people (many of whom donate to the Conservative Party) who weren’t having to live within their means, and the rampant inequality that was a feature of the Conservative led government was, as someone in the welfare ministry, something she should be trying to influence. 

The people of Wirral never forgot it, and the Labour candidate who beat McVey made sure that they wouldn’t. 

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