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Tuesday 1st May 2012 | 16:55
I am writing concerning the repeated ageist discrimination that you and cabinet colleagues have employed in response to questions from my colleague Dennis Skinner MP. This was prompted by you again utilising this tactic in yesterday’s statement on the Ministerial code.
I have detailed on the attached page at least five occasions when senior members of your government have simply refused to answer questions from Mr Skinner on account of his age.
It would be inconceivable for a senior politician to do the same on account of a member’s ethnicity, sex or sexual orientation and so it should be with regard to age discrimination.
That your government introduced legislation to make age discrimination illegal in the workplace will do little to convince my older constituents that you seriously understand the discrimination that older workers face in the job market when you rely on responses that only exacerbate the problem.
I recognise that in the hustle and bustle of Parliamentary knockabout sometimes people say things that they subsequently regret, but the regularity with which this is happening can only lead me to believe that it is not a one off slip but an orchestrated campaign.
I also acknowledge that my Honourable Friend is more than capable of standing up for himself but write to you not on his behalf but on behalf of every older worker discriminated against in the country who would not expect the Prime Minister to be encouraging and even indulging in this sort of discrimination.
I will be writing to the Speaker to ask him to ensure that our Parliament is not sullied with this discriminatory behaviour again, and am asking you to commit that you and your cabinet do recognise that age discrimination is unacceptable and to pledge not to stoop so low again in the future.
I look forward to receiving your response.
Toby Perkins MP
Member of Parliament for Chesterfield