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Esther McVey resigns from Samaritans board amid hypocrisy accusations

DESPISED government minister Esther McVey has resigned from the advisory board of the Samaritans after accusations of hypocrisy.

Under the Con-Dem government she worked as minister for disabled people, taking a leading role in ushering in the reviled bedroom tax and benefit sanctions blamed for driving desperate people to suicide.

Trade unionists and other activists who had mounted a “sack Esther McVey” campaign leading to her 2015 general election unseating revitalised it after Prime Minister Theresa May’s insensitive appointment of Ms McVey as Work & Pensions Secretary in January.

They were astonished to discover that she had joined the advisory board of the charity, which offers help for people contemplating suicide.

Now the Samaritans have announced that Ms McVey has stepped down from the role “due to her commitments” in government.

A spokesman for the charity said: “She was invited by the board to become a member in early 2017 when she was chair of the British Transport Police Authority, one of the partners we work with to reduce suicides in the rail environment.

“We are extremely grateful to Esther for her support for the work of Samaritans and for the time she has given to the advisory board.”

Her departure has been welcomed by campaigners, who pointed out that her department has implemented work assessments for unemployed and disabled people.

The tests have caused huge distress and resulted in benefit sanctions for an estimated 1.2 million of Britain’s most vulnerable people.

When she was disabled minister, the Department for Work & Pensions also implemented the bedroom tax, forcing people out of their homes for having “too much room” or withdrawing their housing benefits.

Sack Esther McVey campaign convener Alec McFadden said: “We could not believe it when we found that McVey was a member of the advisory board of the Samaritans, which helps people contemplating suicide.

“It was completely inappropriate considering her background enforcing the bedroom tax and benefits sanctions, the very things which drove many people to suicide.”

Ms McVey, formerly MP for Wirral West, was defeated in 2015 in one of the biggest swings from the Tories to Labour. She returned to Parliament in 2017 after being given the safe Tory constituency of Tatton in Cheshire.


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