The Shadow Minister for Disabled People Marsha de Cordova has accused Esther McVey of “spreading fake news” after she claimed that the government has never spent more on disabled people.

McVey told the Commons: “We have never spent more supporting people with disabilities and health issues,” but de Cordova disputed the claim, saying that spending on social security for disabled people has shrunk by £5bn in the last decade, adding: “[McVey’s] government has pushed disabled people into misery and despair.”

When asked by MP Debbie Abrahams about the millions of people who will be worse off, including disabled people, McVey responded that “the best way out of poverty is work.” The Secretary of State also highlighted that the number of disabled people in employment has increased by nearly 600,000 between 2013 and 2017, reinforcing the Conservatives’ desire to get disabled people into work as much as possible.

But de Cordova vehemently disagreed with this point, warning her followers to “be under no illusions of the Conservatives’ record on employment for disabled people.”

“This is a party that has left millions of disabled people in poverty and left the disability employment gap at above 30%,” de Cordova continued.

After MP Chris Williamson was accused of “scaremongering” by Alok Sharma when telling the Commons of one of his constituents who will be £400 worse off because of Universal Credit, de Cordova said: “We are not ‘scaremongering’. We are not spreading fake news. Universal Credit will devastate lives and leave at hundreds and thousands of disabled people worse off. This is the harsh reality and we will not be cowed into silence.”

De Cordova’s “fake news” tweet calls back to McVey’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference at the beginning of the month, where she claimed the media were peddling “fake news” about Conservative cuts to budgets.

McVey said: “If you were to believe everything you heard from Labour or read on social media you’d think we were somehow letting down the most vulnerable in society – especially disabled people. However, those who say we are cutting budgets are peddling fake news.

“So here’s the real news – we have never spent more on those with disabilities and long-term health conditions. We spend over £50bn a year, up £9bn on 2010.”

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Image: Wikimedia Commons/Chris McAndrew

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