Disabilities Minister won’t be replaced until after Brexit 'turbulence' resolved, says Tory vice-chairman

Posted On: 
27th March 2019

The Government will not appoint a new disabilities minister until after the Brexit crisis has been resolved, the Tories vice-chairman has said.

The government have been without a disability minister for two weeks
Credit: 
PA

Ministers have still not replaced Sarah Newton, despite her resigning from the post two weeks ago to block a no-deal Brexit.

But Tory vice-chairman James Cleverly admitted Theresa May would hold off on filling the role until after the current impasse over the UK's exit from the EU has been resolved.

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Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: “There is a logic to say, until we have got through this very difficult and turbulent point in time, that a small gap – undesirable though that is – is better than what could be forcibly a series of reshuffles.”

Asked if that meant there would be no imminent move to make an appointment, he responded: “That is a statement of fact.”

But Mr Cleverly insisted the government’s work on disability “does not stop” despite the post remaining unfilled after a fortnight.

“The Prime Minister and the Government are keen to get Brexit resolved soon so we know where we stand and, once that is done, I’m sure posts will be filled,” he added.

Earlier today, Labour MP Marsha De Cordova accused the Prime Minister of “ignoring disabled people” due to Brexit.

She added: “To date the Prime Minister has yet to appoint a new minister to this post, but given the strategic importance and the utter chaos within the Department for Work and Pensions there are currently seven reviews into disabled people being wrongly denied social security and an assessment framework for Employment and Support allowance and PIP in utter crisis.”

Disability charities had already piled in with criticism over the delay to re-appoint someone to the role.

MS Society director Genevieve Edwards, said: “The last decade has already seen eight different ministers responsible for disabled people.

"A delay of nearly two weeks – and counting – to appoint a replacement will hardly give reassurances that the Government is finally serious about tackling the challenges they face.”

Meanwhile, Ayaz Manji of mental health charity Mind, added: “We hear every week from people with mental health problems who have been left completely without income because of an assessment process that’s not fit for purpose.

"The fact that the government has yet to appoint a minister to fix these problems is unacceptable and it’s also part of a much deeper problem.”