Esther McVey, the deeply detested former minster for disabled people and employment minister, has become the new secretary of state for work and pensions in the current cabinet reshuffle.
McVey lost her Wirral West seat in the 2015 general election.
She was one of the few high profile tory losses and her failure to hold her seat was blamed in large part on her deep unpopularity with claimants whom she had been happy to portray as bogus.
In March 2013, following her appointment as minister for disabled people, a Daily Mail article with the headline: “I will go after the bogus disabled . . . some of the DO get better” went on to explain:
“She says many who get DLA and are officially classed ‘disabled’ are no such thing: ‘Only three per cent of people are born with a disability, the rest acquire it through accident or illness, but people come out of it. Thanks to medical advances, bodies heal.’”
But it was her comments in a debate in December 2013 that caused the greatest outrage.
McVey was left to speak in a debate about food banks after IDS left the chamber half way through and was accused by the press of ‘smirking’ whilst Labour MPs told of the plight of their constituents.
McVey told MPs:
“In the UK it is right that more people are... going to food banks because as times are tough, we are all having to pay back this £1.5 trillion debt personally which spiralled under Labour, we are all trying to live within our means, change the gear and make sure that we pay back all our debt which happened under them.”
McVey was parachuted into the safe Tatton constituency of George Osborne following his resignation in 2017.
The work and pensions post was originally offered to former education secretary Justine Greening in the current reshuffle, but she resigned sooner than accept it.
McVey replaces David Gauke, who only became secretary of state for work and pensions in June 2017.
McVey is the fourth person to hold the post in less than two years and the third to be appointed by Theresa May, giving a clear indication of how little importance is attached to the role.