Disabled Tory Graeme Ellis Quits Party And Sabotages Disability Group Website In Protest At Budget
A Tory disability campaigner has quit and sabotaged his own party’s website in a dramatic protest against George Osborne’s benefit cuts.
Wheelchair-bound diabetic Graeme Ellis – who has voted Conservative for 40 years – handed in his membership in disgust after today’s Budget.
And he took the entire website of the Conservative Disability Group with him – replacing it with a statement saying: “This website is temporarily closed owing to Disability Cuts”.
It comes after George Osborne gave the rich a tax cut by slashing £4.4billion from Personal Independence Payments (PIP) – hot on the heels of a £30-a-week cut to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
In an exclusive interview with the Mirror, the group’s webmaster called for its MP representative to quit and blasted the Chancellor for “destroying lives”
The 58-year-old, who runs a benefits advice service, told the Mirror: “I would like to say to him – does he realise how he’s destroying lives?
“I’ve had distraught clients on the phone today. I’ve had people in tears worrying about the future.
“How can I morally represent clients when I remain in an organisation that’s doing these cuts?
“I’m just an ordinary citizen but I feel as though I want to lead a campaign over this.
“I’m a disabled person and I’m involved in politics. I decided being a disabled person comes first.”
The former NHS worker from Lancaster said he has served on the national executive of the Conservative Disability Group, which is probing the impact of the party’s welfare cuts.
He also runs a support network offering advice to people facing disability benefit appeals and assessments.
Mr Ellis said the final straw was watching Mr Osborne announce a tax cut for people earning over £43,000 – at the same time as slashing PIP.
He said: “I changed the website this afternoon. I’m appalled by what’s happened and wanted to make a very public statement.
“I’ve been a Conservative voter since I could vote. But as a lifelong Conservative I could no longer agree with what the government’s doing.
“I’ve received a lot of phone calls including from the chairman of the group but I don’t want any contact with anybody in the group.”
He called for MP Paul Maynard, the group’s representative in Parliament, to quit after he voted for ESA cuts.
He said: “If he thought disabled people are so worthless they could stand a cut of £30 a week he doesn’t deserve to be involved.”
A Conservative Party spokesman said: “The Conservative Disability Group has not deactivated its website.
“The owner of the domain, who is no longer a member of the Group, has deactivated it without any instruction to do so.”