The Conservatives have dismantled the welfare system and introduced a system of “eugenics” in an effort to make disabled people “suffer and die”, according to a newly-elected Labour MP.
Jared O’Mara, who has cerebral palsy, said the Government has “completely torn up the welfare system” by shutting down the Independent Living Fund and making cuts to disability and social care benefits.
Mr O’Mara, who ousted former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg from his Sheffield Hallam seat, also declared his support for efforts to bring a criminal prosecution against Tory ministers over claims that the Department for Work and Pension’s (DWP) “fitness to work” tests have led to the deaths of benefit claimants.
The former school governor insisted the policies were making disabled people have suicidal thoughts.
He told Disability News Service (DNS): “A lot of people say you can’t use that word, but I will do: it’s eugenics. They want disabled people to suffer and die. That’s literally what’s happening.
“Disabled people are out there suffering and dying because they have not got the financial means and financial support and nor have they got the legal means to lead an equal life, or even to lead a satisfactory life.”
He added that reports that mentally ill people have been asked why they haven’t committed suicide by independence payment assessors support his claims.
“How is that not eugenics? Putting thoughts of suicide into a disabled person’s head. It’s literally eugenics,” he said.
“I’m not going to shy away from it, people might say I am taking it too far, but as far as I am concerned, what I have seen and what has happened across the board, it’s been eugenics.
“There are people just like me and people who have got conditions that make things even worse for them than mine does, and they are dying and they are suffering.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “We have a proud record in supporting disabled people, including through the landmark Disability Discrimination Act.
“In the last three years, over 500,000 have moved into work and we continue to spend around £50bn a year on benefits to support disabled people and those with health conditions – more than ever before.”
In the wide-ranging interview with DNS, Mr O’Mara also said he “absolutely” supported efforts by anti-austerity groups to bring criminal proceedings against former DWP ministers Chris Grayling and Iain Duncan Smith relating to the fitness to work tests.
A disabled activist from the Black Triangle campaign lodged a complaint with Scottish police claiming the pair might be guilty of “willful neglect of duty by a public official”, but Scottish criminal justice agencies refused to investigate the matter in December.
A DWP spokesperson said at the time: “It is important we make sure that people are receiving the right support, and they are not simply written off to a life on benefits.
“The Work Capability Assessment has been improved dramatically since 2008 following a number of reviews, including five independent ones.”
After a month in his role as Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam, Mr O’Mara said he has not been able to attend debates in the Commons chamber as he cannot stand for longer than 10 minutes.
35-year-old MP was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at six months old. The condition leaves him with severe fatigue and the right-hand side of his body is semi-paralysed. Mobility and standing for too long are issues and he needs bannisters on both sides of stairs.
The disability rights campaigner, who compares himself to Forrest Gump, previously said: “I’m this slightly eccentric, little bit weird disabled guy who keeps stumbling into large achievements.”