Freud’s remarks offensive – Clegg


Published: Thursday 16th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud’s comments suggesting that some disabled people are “not worth” the minimum wage were “offensive”, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said.

The minister is to remain in his job after issuing a “full and unreserved apology”, but has been withdrawn from his duties in the House of Lords today.

Mr Clegg said his comments had “cause huge offence” and “touched a raw nerve”.

Labour demanded the Conservative minister’s resignation over the remark, which sparked anger from disability charities and trade unions.

But David Cameron’s official spokesman said the Prime Minister has full confidence in Lord Freud in the light of his apology and wants “all Government ministers to be getting on with implementing policy”.

Mr Cameron flatly disowned the peer’s remarks when ambushed by Labour leader Ed Miliband at Prime Minister’s Questions and later ordered him to apologise.

Lord Freud has been withdrawn from frontbench duties in the House of Lords, where he had been scheduled to reply to a question and represent the Government in a debate.

The Department for Work and Pensions said the peer “isn’t available” but gave no further details of why he was being replaced by colleagues.

On his LBC Radio phone-in show, Mr Clegg said: “I think what was so offensive to people about the remarks recorded at the Conservative Party Conference that Lord Freud made was when he used this word ‘worth’ and he said some people with disabilities weren’t worth the minimum wage. I think that is what has, quite rightly, touched a raw nerve because it’s making a comment about someone’s individual value.

“I think that was just so offensive to people.”

He said there should be a ” grown-up debate about how we can get more people with disability into employment” but added: “To say someone is not worth something, quite understandably that’s just caused huge offence.”

Published: Thursday 16th October 2014 by The News Editor

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