Not being ones to let the grass grow under their feet, members of Andover’s branch of the MS Society has reacted quickly to their patron voting for cuts to disability benefits.
Regular readers may recall that, on Friday, I posted a blog on the issue of the patron, local MP Kit Malthouse, voting for the £30 cut to ESA Work-Related Activity Group new claimants from April next year. That blog (if you have not read it, you can follow this link: http://50shadesofsun.com/?p=1875) brought howls of complaint against Mr Malthouse and demands for him to be removed from his honorary role.
I said his vote in the House of Commons and his role as patron of the MS Society branch were incompatible as the society has been actively campaigning against the cut.
Andover MS Society obviously feels the same way as it has now asked the MP to step down from being the branch’s patron. Donna Birch, branch Chair, explained: “Due to recent events we no longer feel that Kit Malthouse is a suitable patron, so we have asked him to step down from this role.”
So far, Mr Malthouse has not responded to my request for a comment.
Following my first blog on this subject, the MS Society UK commented: “Hi Ian, thankyou for posting this. We have over 280 branches across the UK, some of which ask local politicians to act as patrons or presidents, which can help raise their profile. These are not formal roles within the MS Society.
“We would hope, given Mr Malthouse has accepted this role with our Andover branch, he would understand why reducing ESA by £30 a week will make life harder for people with MS who come to claim this benefit. We fundamentally disagree with Mr Malthouse’s position and we’re deeply disappointed that the Government has ignored the concerns of organisations like the MS Society and voted for the changes to ESA.
“For more information on what the changes to ESA mean for people with MS, please follow this link http://mssoc.uk/1TzTWfh.”