A Tory disability campaigner has handed in his membership and sabotaged a Party website in protest over brutal disability benefit cuts, it has been reported today.
Graeme Ellis, a 66-year-old wheelchair user who has voted Conservative since he was old enough to vote, quit and then closed the Conservative Disability Group (CDG) website, after Chancellor George Osborne confirmed devastating cuts to Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
More than 600,000 people with disabilities will be hit by plans to reduce eligibility for the Daily Living Component of PIP, with a Labour analysis showing that 400,000 could lose up to £1,400 a year in vital income.
A further 200,000 people with disabilities could find themselves being kicked off the benefit completely.
The news comes a week after the government pushed through cuts to Employment and Support Allowance, that will see half a million sick and disabled people lose around £30 a week in vital income.
A petition calling on the government to reverse the cuts to ESA has passed its 100,000 signature target and could now be debated by MPs in the Commons.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Mr Ellis, who also manages a benefits advice service, said he could not in good conscience continue to serve on the national executive of the CDG when George Osborne is “destroying lives”.
Mr Ellis told the Mirror: “I would like to say to him – does he realise how he’s destroying lives?
“I’ve had distraught clients on the phone today. I’ve had people in tears worrying about the future. How can I morally represent clients when I remain in an organisation that’s doing these cuts?
“I’m just an ordinary citizen but I feel as though I want to lead a campaign over this.
“I’m a disabled person and I’m involved in politics. I decided being a disabled person comes first.”
Mr Ellis added: “I changed the website this afternoon. I’m appalled by what’s happened and wanted to make a very public statement.
“I’ve been a Conservative voter since I could vote. But as a lifelong Conservative I could no longer agree with what the government’s doing.”
Mr Ellis also called on Tory MP Paul Maynard, who represents the CDG in Parliament, to step down.
“If he thought disabled people are so worthless they could stand a cut of £30 a week he doesn’t deserve to be involved”, he said.