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The Stand-Up Comic Who Confronted Jacob Rees-Mogg In Manchester Over ‘Shameful’ Fit-For-Work Tests

October 5, 2021

A stand-up comedian who confronted Jacob Rees-Mogg over ‘shameful’ fitness to work tests says his protest was provoked by his own ‘degrading’ experience of proving he was eligible for benefits.

Dominic Hutchins, who has cerebral palsy, tackled the Leader of the Commons outside the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on Monday afternoon.

During the three minute exchange in St Peter’s Square Mr Hutchins, 43, challenged the Government’s track record on disability rights, berated Mr Rees-Mogg over policies that he blames for causing the loss of his job as a youth worker and criticised the ‘shameful’ fitness to work tests.

He told Mr Rees-Mogg: “You’re just another Eton millionaire Tory who looks down on disabled people.

 

“You basically said you’re disabled, but are you really disabled?

“It’s shameful.”

Mr Rees-Mogg told him: “I strongly advise you to speak to your MP.”

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News later Mr Hutchins, of Disley, near Stockport, said: “I’ve had cerebral palsy since birth, but a year ago I had to go through this process of proving I’m still disabled so I can still get disability benefit.

“I’ve always been very independent. I went to university, I’m a parish councillor, I was a youth worker, I drive, but instead of talking about all the positive things I can do, at the age of 42 I had to tell them all the things I can’t do.

“Do you know how degrading that is?”

Mr Hutchins, a stand-up comic who has performed a number of gigs at Manchester’s Frog and Bucket comedy club, is a member of the campaign group Manchester Disabled People Against Cuts.

He says he often uses his act to raises issues he campaigns about and went to the Conservative Party conference because he ‘felt a duty to get disabled people’s voices heard’.

He added: “Some disabled people can’t get out and get their voices heard, so I feel a duty to do that, not so much for me, but for the disabled community as a whole.

“Four years ago I got made redundant. The Tories are always saying to people that employment is the way forward, but they’re the ones putting people out of work.

“I wasn’t expecting to grab anybody, I just went there to show solidarity with disabled people.

“I saw Jacob Rees-Mogg and thought it was a good opportunity to get my point across.

“To be fair he listened to me and he gave me his time, but I think his response was just lip service to be honest.”

 

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