PMQs saw David Cameron struggling to justify measures in the Welfare Reform Bill which will penalise cancer patients whose recovery means they are unable to work for more than one year. Ed Miliband made particular reference to lobbying on the issue by the charity MacMillan Cancer Support.

While emphasising that they wished to work constructively with the government to resolve the issue, MacMillan later told Sky News that:

“It was clear that David Cameron wasn’t on top of all the details.”

Presumably frustrated by Ed Miliband’s more assured performance, right wingers have instead launched a disgusting ad hominem attack on MacMillan representative Mike Hobday simply for doing his job. Along with hundreds of other staff in the charity sector, Hobday previously worked in a party political role.

But claims he is involved in some form of Labour Party “stitch up” unravel when we see that thirty other cancer charities wrote to Iain Duncan Smith in March, raising precisely the same issue:

“Proposals that ESA claimants who are expected to carry out work-focused activities will only receive the benefit for one year, without being means-tested, will hit cancer patients particularly hard.”

The letter was signed by:

  • Ciarán Devane, chief executive, Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Henny Braund, chief executive, Anthony Nolan
  • Mark Flannagan, chief executive, Beating Bowel Cancer
  • Jenny Baker OBE, chief executive, Brain Tumour UK
  • Chris Askew, chief executive, Breakthrough Breast Cancer
  • Samia al Qadhi, chief executive, Breast Cancer Care
  • Helen Bulbeck, director, brainstrust – the Meg Jones brain cancer charity
  • Pamela Goldberg, chief executive, Breast Cancer Campaign
  • Deborah Alsina, chief executive, Bowel Cancer UK
  • Harpal Kumar, chief executive, Cancer Research UK
  • Elaine Kerr, chief executive, Chai Cancer Care
  • Lorraine Clifton, chief executive, CLIC Sargent
  • Kristin Hallenga, chief executive, CoppaFeel
  • Nick Turkentine, chief executive, James Whale Fund
  • Robert Music, director, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust
  • Karen Friett, chief executive, Lymphoedema Support Network
  • Sally Penrose, chief executive, Lymphoma Association
  • Dr Teresa Tate, medical adviser, Marie Curie Cancer Care
  • Ella Pybus, chief executive, Meningioma UK
  • Dr Vinod K Joshi, founder and chief executive. Mouth Cancer Foundation
  • Eric Low, chief executive, Myeloma UK
  • John Solly, chief executive, Myrovlytis Trust
  • Alexandra Ford, chief executive, Pancreatic Cancer UK
  • John Neate, chief executive, The Prostate Cancer Charity
  • Andrew Wilson, chief executive, Rarer Cancers Foundation
  • Rosemary Gillespie, chief executive, The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
  • Paul Carbury, chief executive, Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust
  • Lindsey Bennister, chief executive, Sarcoma UK
  • Anwen Jones, chief executive, Target Ovarian Cancer
  • Simon Davies, chief executive, Teenage Cancer Trust

Are we to believe these charities, rather than representing the interests of cancer patients, are pursuing some form of party political vendetta?

  1. Raymond Kelly says:

    The Conservatives are simply removing genuinely sick people from sick benefit to Jobseekers Allowance to save money.

    Even if technically they may be classified as “fit for work” by the new definitions, they will still need more money than able bodied people because most are still sick and receiving treatment. They are also less likely to find work than able bodied people, so they will have to put up with harrassment as well.

    By attacking the sick, the Tories are really living up to their nickname “the nasty party”. They remind one of the villains out of a Dickens novel – disgusting.

  2. matthew fox says:

    Poor Paul Staines, he so desperate for attention.

    Next Paul will be tell us that is politics is a game of two halves, but I don’t understand why he is using the royal ” We “, Paul Staines is a lone ranger, people have the intelligence not to associate themselves with him, and his unique brand of schoolboy journalism.

  3. I am a cancer patient going through chemotherapy to be followed by radiotherapy etc over the next six months. Anxiety over my uncertain health state concerning it spreading etc is so horrible… It is not possible to describe to a healthy person what it is like…
    I am in my 50s. I am receiving support from the state. I have never asked for or received any before even at my difficult jobless times. There is not much work in the area but I made the effort to travel far away to earn my living until I fell ill…
    I am surrounded by neighbours who claim to be unwell even though there is nothing wrong with the majority of them. They have been on benefits for years. Some never worked in their lives and live in comfortable council homes. There is definitely a need to get such people moving in to the real world. I can not understand how the cancer patients were in the agenda as if the rest were sorted out and that they were closing on the rest!!!
    In South West Wales alone there are 20000 cancer patients. I can not believe the number to be inconvenienced by such changes are to be 7000 nationwide. It must definitely be a lot more…
    People who suffer from cancer are allready uncertain about their future as it a disease that can return/ continue/ spread at rates one can not tell. Prognosis is not clear cut unlike most other conditions.
    I resent the politicians including this group of people in their cleaning up process.
    It is inhumane. It makes one wonder if they had close friends/ relatives to be in such circumstances to be able to understand what it is like. Obviously not… I will return their insensitivity with a humane wish that they wont go through it themselves.
    I thought Cameron was a thoughtful, intelligent man. I think the opposite now.
    I hope the cancer has not spread any further and that I shall be well enough to take part in the real world instead of being like a zombie sitting in front of a computer. I shall hopefully be able to take part in groups who seek the cancer patients being protected from such thoughts/ actions.
    Shame on anyone who causes more distress to people who allready suffer so much…

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