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Philip Davies has seen his Party leadership distance themselves from him following his suggestions that disabled people should offer to work for less than the minimum wage. His comments provoked fury from charities and Labour MPs. A CCHQ spokesman said: “These comments do not reflect the views of the Conservative party and do not reflect Government policy”.
During the second reading debate of the Employment Opportunities Bill, Mr Davies said: “If an employer is looking at two candidates, one who has got disabilities and one who hasn't, and they have got to pay them both the same rate, I invite you to guess which one the employer is more likely to take on."
Stephen Lloyd, a Liberal Democrat MP who is himself deaf, said: "I think this is an appalling idea and shows a complete lack of understanding of both disability and of the workplace. We will never deal with disability discrimination by entrenching it even more in the eyes of employers as cheap labour. I have a better idea, perhaps we should dock the wages of MP's who make particularly fatuous remarks around disability, starting with Philip Davies!"
Speaking later on BBC Radio 4, Mr Davies denied that he was saying people should be paid less, insisting "[disabled] people should be given the opportunity to prove themselves...before moving higher up the payscale".
Dame Anne Begg, Chair of the Work & Pensions Committee and Labour MP for Aberdeen South, expressed her disgust at Mr Davies’ remarks.
"These comments are utterly outrageous and unacceptable. To suggest that disabled people should be treated as second class citizens is shocking and shows just what a warped world some Tories demonstrate they inhabit."
Sophie Corlett, a Spokeswoman for the mental health charity MIND, said: "It is a preposterous suggestion that someone who has a mental health problem should be prepared to accept less than minimum wage to get their foot in the door with an employer.
"People with mental health problems should not be considered a source of cheap labour and should be paid appropriately for the jobs they do."
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17/06/2011 on Labour
17/06/2011 on Mind
17/06/2011 on Conservatives
17/06/2011 on BBC News
17/06/2011 on PM, BBC Radio 4
Summaries and transcripts from TV and radio
20/05/2013 on Newsnight, BBC 2
20/05/2013 on Newsnight, BBC Two
20/05/2013 on Channel 4 News