Jeremy Corbyn has described the appointment of Esther McVey as Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions as “a cause for alarm for disabled people.”
The Labour leader is the latest person to have his say on the hugely controversial move made by Theresa May in her cabinet reshuffle this week.
Ms McVey – who is widely disliked on Merseyside after pushing controversial policies during her stint as Minister for Disabled people – lost her Wirral West seat in 2015.
But having been given a safe Tory seat in Tatton at last year’s General Election – the politician has completed her return to the top level of government with this week’s promotion.
The appointment led to an outcry of anger and fear from Merseyside MPs and members of the public – and now Labour’s leader has backed those comments.
The ECHO approached Mr Corbyn’s team for a response and a spokesman said: “Jeremy is highly critical of her record and views her appointment as a cause for alarm, as it will be for people, particularly disabled people, across the country.”
A petition launched in the hours after news of the move broke has already gathered nearly 23,000 signatures .
But the level of vitriol expressed towards the new DWP boss was so unpleasant that bosses at the 38 Degrees website had to suspend comments on the petition page.
Wirral South MP Alison McGovern said she was “gobsmacked” to hear news of the former GMTV presenter’s return to a cabinet role.
She said: “People in Wirral West rejected her in 2015 when she was Minister for Work after her government failed to act on zero hours contracts, made life immeasurably harder for people with disabilities, and set in train cuts to family income that will see child poverty grow by 400,000 over the next few year.”
Esther McVey (Image: Ben Birchall/PA Wire)
Walton MP Dan Carden added: “Her appointment is an utter betrayal of those sick and disabled people she treated with such disdain the last time she was in that Department.“Vulnerable people deserve respect and understanding, something Esther McVey has proven she is totally devoid of.”
And Wavertree MP Luciana Berger reminded people of the time that Ms McVey said it was “right” and “expected” that more people were visiting foodbanks.
Ms Berger added: ““I am just appalled at this decision, she was kicked out of Wirral West because of what she did as a junior minister – and now she has been rewarded with a safe seat and a secretary of state position.
“The Prime Minister said she wanted to challenge the burning injustices that are going on in our country.
“I would argue that many of those injustices came about when Esther McVey was in post last time.”