Jonathan Bartley (@jon_bartley) on Twitter
I don’t know if any of you watched the welfare debate on BBC 2 yesterday, in which members of Labour, Conservatives, UKIP, Greens and Lib Dems discussed their manifesto for welfare.
At 13 minutes and 50 seconds into the debate, Johnathan Bartley (Green Party spokesperson) challenges IDS on the DWP peer reviews into suicides of claimants and the delay in providing death statistics via a Freedom of Information (FoI) request. (although not mentioned by name, he is referring to Mike Sivier over at the Vox Political blog who requested this information – you can read more about his FoI “journey” here)
IDS, as I am sure you can imagine, was his usual charming self, calling Mr Bartley all sorts.
The Green Party today published this article on its’ website;
The Green Party has requested that Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, issue a formal apology for misleading the public after he denied knowledge of the number of benefit claimant deaths shown to be caused by suicide.
Contrary to Mr. Smith’s statement, issued whilst taking part in a BBC Daily Politics debate on Welfare, research by the Disability News Service (DNS) has found that the Department for Work and Pensions has withheld research showing that over 40 benefit claimant deaths since 2012 have been linked to suicide.
Commenting on the exposure by the DNS, Jonathan Bartley, Green Party Spokesperson for Work and Pensions, said:
“It is utterly shameful for Iain Duncan Smith to have misled the public and the families of those affected by these tragic deaths. It’s not enough that his Department appears to have sat on research revealing the immense damage his welfare policies are causing to families up and down the country. To deny all knowledge of the reports is heartless and blinkered – hardly the kind of approach we want the person in charge of national welfare to be taking.
“On behalf of the Green Party I’m requesting that Mr. Smith issue a formal apology for his misleading of the public and that the research discovered by the DNS be made publicly available on the website of the Department for Work and Pensions. Understanding the impact of government policies is essential in helping us improve and inform future government decisions so that we can ensure they are working in the best interests of the public. That is exactly why it needs to be shared publicly and in an open and democratic manner.”
In the words of the “Scottish play” …. “methinks he doth protest too much”
And to Jonathan Bartley – you are a beautiful person, inside and out.