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Message To Disabled People Regarding Owen Smith MPs Leadership Bid

July 12, 2016

Spotted here.

Liza Van Zyl, a disability rights activist has made this statement:

‘Owen Smith needs to be challenged robustly on his position on the Work Capability Assessment and on his commitment to disabled people’s rights. I was a Labour Party activist who had no choice but to resign from the party after a very unpleasant encounter with Mr Smith. I am recounting it now because I believe it is very important that his views are robustly challenged if he stands for the Labour leadership.

On Saturday 7th March 2015 I attended a Labour meeting in Pontypridd at which the guest speaker was Owen Smith MP, then shadow secretary of state for Wales. When questions were invited from the floor, I asked Mr Smith why, given that the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) has been responsible for a great many more deaths than the Bedroom Tax, Labour had pledged to scrap the Bedroom Tax but had said nothing about pledging to scrap the WCA. Mr Smith replied that Labour could not pledge to scrap the WCA because this would make Labour appear weak on benefits in the eyes of the media and compromise Labour’s general-election chances.

I posted this on Facebook and a journalist took it up and posted the story online. Subsequently the journalist was threatened with legal action by Mr Smith if he did not take the story down. I was very intimidated by the prospect of defending myself in court, and I had no money for a legal defence. In addition my Labour colleagues were terribly keen to maintain good relations with Mr Smith and would probably have backed Mr Smith and not me if it came to a court case (one of them had even contacted the journalist and briefed against me). So I asked the journalist to pull the story and I deleted references to it on Facebook.

I am publicising this incident now because I am very concerned about Mr Smith’s attitude toward disabled people and particularly to his views that the deaths of disabled people are less important than Labour’s “tough on benefits” standing in the right wing press. If he threatens me with legal action again it will be incredibly stressful and will probably exacerbate my disability-related ill-health. But I believe it is important that Mr Smith’s attitudes to the WCA and to disability rights (and freedom of speech!) be robustly challenged if he stands for the Labour leadership. And because we should be able to discuss things that profoundly impact on us, like the WCA, without being intimidated into silence by threats of legal action. I am happy to provide more details to journalists who can contact me at

9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2016 1:03 am

    Reblogged this on elizapdushku's World.

  2. Nick permalink
    July 12, 2016 1:34 am

    lets get some facts straight once and for all. if you mention anything to do with immigrants you will win the vote hence brexit. and the same applies to the sick and disabled

    it just goes to show how stupid David Cameron was to call a referendum which only went to prove he has never done any local community work because if he had he would have known for certain that the country is a closet raciest in many parts of the country and also that the sick and disabled are held in contempt

    mr smith mp like many mp’s hasn’t a clue on any form of sick or disability issues and there is no way at a public meeting could he be seen supporting them in any shape or form

    no one in uk politics has ever spoken well of the the sick and disabled and has personally publicly said they deserve the very best in society and deserve to be treated with the very highest respect

    any political party talking nice things about the sick and disabled is a dead party and in reality it’s as simple as that

    • thomas permalink
      July 30, 2016 9:49 pm

      The late Alf Morris Labour MP for Wythenshawe, Manchester was pioneer and stalwart for the disabled.

      • Nick permalink
        July 30, 2016 10:30 pm

        Thanks Thomas i stand corrected. one person in my 60 years is not good by a long shot

  3. July 26, 2016 3:27 pm

    Reblogged this on Sid's Blog and commented:
    Owen Smith
    Disabled less important????????

  4. Anna-Marie permalink
    August 5, 2016 10:18 am

    Jeremy Corbyn has now officially condemned the WCA and has pledged to scrap it – go Jeremy! (from a Labour Party member since 12th January – thank goodness!!!)

  5. August 6, 2016 3:12 pm

    I’ve had direct and indirect threats and intimidation from Labour party scumbags too…

    Empty “Libel” threats and ‘We know where you live’ type letters (one with a photo taken outside my home)…
    Especially since I found out that a lot of WCA quacks are members of Jeremy Corbyn’s Unison union.

    I’ll put it all on my blog when I can…

  6. August 25, 2016 3:04 am

    Reblogged this on Mark Catlin's Blog.


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