The government still doesn’t have a disabilities minister and that’s probably for the best

The government still doesn’t have a disabilities minister and that’s probably for the best

The government still doesn’t have a disabilities minister and that’s probably for the best

What do you do as shadow minister for disabled people when you don’t have anyone to shadow?

That’s the dilemma facing Marsha de Cordova.

More than two weeks after the previous incumbent, Sarah Newton, quit over Brexit there is still no replacement. Tory vice chairman James Cleverly took time out from his busy schedule composing snarky tweets to tell Radio Five that there probably won’t be one until the crisis is resolved. 


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There was a certain logic to what he said. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, most of the Conservatives’ appointees have struggled to manage a year in the post before moving on. But given the way Theresa May keeps losing ministers, the next one could struggle to manage a week. 

At this rate, it won’t be long before she, or her successor, has to ask the Downing Street cat to take a turn through the revolving door that’s characterised the portfolio.

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1/50 11 April 2019

The Milky Way and millions of stars over Dinstanburgh Castle in the early hours of the morning. Dunstanburgh Castle is a 14th-century fortification on the coast of Northumberland in northern England, between the villages of Craster and Embleton. The castle was built by Earl Thomas of Lancaster between 1313 and 1322

PA

2/50 10 April 2019

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May react during an extraordinary European Union leaders summit to discuss Brexit, in Brussels

Reuters

3/50 9 April 2019

England’s Ellen White celebrates after her side go 1-0 up against Spain during their friendly match at the Energy Check County Ground, Swindon. The Lionesses went on to win 2-1

PA

4/50 8 April 2019

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and fellow Labour MPs welcome the newly elected MP for Newport West, Ruth Jones (right), to the Houses of Parliament

PA

5/50 7 April 2019

James Cracknell celebrates after winning the Men’s Boat Race with Cambridge. Former Olympic and World Champion Cracknell, 46, became the oldest entrant in Boat Race history, qualifying after taking up a Master of Philosophy degree in human evolution

Getty

6/50 6 April 2019

Davy Russell, riding Tiger Roll, celebrates winning the Random Health Grand National at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool. He became the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back renewals

EPA

7/50 5 April 2019

Activists in hazmat suits and masks stop traffic in west London in a protest accusing authorities of lying after cancer-causing chemicals were found in soil close to Grenfell Tower

PA

8/50 4 April 2019

England football manager Gareth Southgate with the OBE that he received at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London

PA

9/50 3 April 2019

Newborn lambs in a snow covered field near Allendale, Northumberland, after temperatures dipped below freezing overnight. Hill snow, sleet, showers and gales are expected for parts of the UK as the chilly snap keeps hold.

PA

10/50 2 April 2019

Armathwaite Hall hotel in Keswick, Cumbria holds Lemoga classes with the lemurs from Lake District Wild Life Park, who were mingling with the class to create a personal yoga experience which aims to heighten the sense of wellbeing for both lemur and human. With their friendly, outgoing personalities and love for human contact, lemurs make the perfect yoga buddies, helping people to laugh, unwind and stretch away their troubles

PA

11/50 1 April 2019

Fire fighters attend to two police cars that were destroyed after being set on fire outside Goldthorpe police station in South Yorkshire in a suspected arson attack

PA

12/50 31 March 2019

Forensics teams work at the scene of a stabbing in Edmonton in London. Four people have been stabbed in a spate of knife attacks in the north of the capital over the weekend

Getty

13/50 30 March 2019

Workers from the Honda plant in Swindon during a protest march through the town as the car giant will be urged to reverse its decision to close its UK plant

Unite South West/PA

14/50 29 March 2019

Pro-Brexit protesters outside Westminster as MPs voted on a Government motion on the EU withdrawal

PA

15/50 28 March 2019

England football captain Harry Kane is made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by the Duke of Cambridge during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace

PA

16/50 27 March 2019

Gallery staff give a final dusting to the ‘Olympe’ sculpture by Aspencrow, modelled on Cara Delevingne and an interpretation of Medusa, as it is unveiled at the JD Malay Gallery in Mayfair, London

PA

17/50 26 March 2019

PD Marci with handler PC Neil Billany, PD Kai with handler PC Jean Pearce, PD Bruno with handler Rob Smith, PD Delta with handler PC Mark Snoxhall, PDSA vet Rosamund Ford, and PD Dave with handler PC Andy Salter at Borough market in London where the dogs were honoured with the PDSA Order of Merit for helping emergency services during the 2017 London terror attacks at Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and Borough Market

PA

18/50 25 March 2019

Britain’s Attorney General Geoffrey Cox arrives in Downing street, London for a cabinet meeting. British Prime Minister Theresa May will today chair a potentially volatile meeting of her cabinet amid reports of an attempted coup by colleagues over her handling of Brexit.

AFP/Getty

19/50 24 March 2019

Workers peeling off stickers left on the Cabinet Office door on Whitehall, London, left by anti-Brexit campaigners after they took part in the People’s Vote March

PA

20/50 23 March 2019

Protesters take part in the Put It To The People March on Whitehall in London. Thousands of protesters gathered for the march from Park Lane to Parliament Square calling for a public vote on the Governments final Brexit deal

Getty

21/50 22 March 2019

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after a news briefing after meeting with EU leaders in Brussels

Reuters

22/50 21 March 2019

The mosque and community centre on Albert Road in Birmingham where a police forensic team are at work after it had its windows smashed with a sledgehammer. An investigation involving counter-terrorism officers has been launched after four mosques in the Birmingham area were attacked overnight

PA

23/50 20 March 2019

Gallery technicians install Edvard Munch’s The Scream at the British Museum in London, ahead of the opening of Edvard Munch: love and angst exhibition, which runs from 11 April to 21 July

PA

24/50 19 March 2019

The ‘tall ship’ William II passes a wind turbine as it sails along the north east coast near Whitley Bay in Tyne and Wear after it set off from Blyth in Northumberland on a voyage round the coastline of Great Britain calling at 10 ports en route and changing crews at each stage. The Blyth Tall Ship project is a charity working alongside Blyth community volunteers to recapture the spirit of adventure that was employed in the town to discover the Antarctic 200 years ago and the turbine is part of a pilot field operated by EDF off Blyth which uses concrete float-and-submerge foundations

PA

25/50 18 March 2019

Messenger, the largest bronze cast sculpture in the UK, arrives in Plymouth Sound by barge as it makes its way to be installed outside Theater Royal Plymouth, Devon

PA

26/50 17 March 2019

Flooding in Silsdend, Yorkshire. Heavy rain has caused widespread flooding across the country. Flood warnings remain in place across the UK

PA

27/50 16 March 2019

Police at the scene in Fulham, west London where a 29-year-old man was stabbed to death this morning. The Metropolitan Police said it was called “to reports of a fight in progress” by ambulance crews and arrived on the scene at about 12.27am. The victim was found with stab wounds and died at the scene at 12.56am despite attempts by paramedics and members of the public to save his life

PA

28/50 15 March 2019

Schoolchildren gather around Queen Victoria Memorial at Buckingham Palace as they take part in a student climate protest in London. Thousands of pupils from schools, colleges and universities across the UK will walk out in the second major strike against climate change this year. Young people nationwide are calling on the Government to declare a climate emergency and take action. Similar strikes are taking place around the world today including in Japan and Australia, inspired by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg who criticised world leaders at a United Nations climate conference

Getty

29/50 14 March 2019

Families of those killed during Bloody Sunday march through Bogside in Derry, Northern Ireland. The Public Prosecution Service announced only one former British soldier is to be put on trial in connection with his role in the shootings that left 13 people dead in Derry on 30 January 1972. Families of those killed gathered outside The Museum of Free Derry, yards from where the killings took place, before marching to the city centre hotel to hear the announcement

Charles McQuillan

Getty

30/50 13 March 2019

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond leaves 11 Downing Street as he heads to the House of Commons, to deliver his Spring Statement. He announced he was slashing the UK growth forecast and warned no-deal Brexit will destroy pledge to end austerity

PA

31/50 12 March 2019

British Synchronised swimmers Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe, attempting to recreate their World Championship routine in a pool filled with plastic for The Big Bang Fair challenge, opening this week at the NEC Birmingham. The campaign for the Big Bang competition, which is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) for young people in the UK has been created to help highlight how the eight million tonnes of plastic dumped in the world’s oceans every year affects marine life

PA

32/50 11 March 2019

Snow surrounds the Tan Hill pub in North Yorkshire

PA

33/50 10 March 2019

A man feeds food to dogs during the ‘Brexit Dogs Dinner’ protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London

Reuters

34/50 9 March 2019

Protesters from the climate change pressure group Extinction Rebellion demonstrate by pouring fake blood onto the street outside Downing Street in London

Reuters

35/50 8 March 2019

A woman runs with her Komondor dog as it is judged in a show ring on the second day of the Crufts dog show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham

AFP/Getty

36/50 7 March 2019

Scaffolding which has blown down in strong winds in Hampstead, north London

Robert Berg/Twitter/PA Wire

37/50 6 March 2019

Police and bomb disposal services outside the University of Glasgow after the building was evacuated when a suspect package was found in the mailroom

PA

38/50 5 March 2019

Police officers secure the scene where a suspicious package was found near Waterloo railway station. Other packages were also found at Heathrow Airport and London City Airport, with the police saying they were bombs. Counterterror officers are investigating the three devices as linked following a series of evacuations. One of the packages opened by office staff at Heathrow Airport burst into flames. Scotland Yard did not rule out the existence of other bombs. “The packages – all A4-sized white postal bags containing yellow Jiffy bags – have been assessed by specialist officers to be small improvised explosive devices,” a spokesperson said. “These devices, at this early stage of the investigation, appear capable of igniting an initially small fire when opened. “The Met Police Counter Terrorism Command is treating the incidents as a linked series and is keeping an open mind regarding motives.”

Reuters

39/50 4 March 2019

Large waves crash over the sea walls at Cleveleys near Blackpool, as the remains of Storm Freya, which has battered Britain with gales, heavy rain and snow causes widespread travel disruption

PA

40/50 3 March 2019

Christopher Hepworth with partner Tanisha Prince (right) on their way to victory in the annual UK Wife Carrying Race at The Nower in Dorking, Surrey

PA

41/50 2 March 2019

Police officers search near the scene on St Neot’s Road in Harold Hill, east London following the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old girl on Friday night. Police were called to reports of a knife attack in the Romford area by the ambulance service at 9.25pm. The girl was pronounced dead at the scene just over an hour later. Her next of kin have been informed and detectives from the Metropolitan Police have launched a murder investigation

PA

42/50 1 March 2019

Great Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Niamh Emerson celebrate after winning gold and silver medals in the women’s pentathlon at the 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow

Getty

43/50 28 February 2019

A painting, believed to be the second version of “Judith Beheading Holofernes” by Italian artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, is picutred during a photocall in London following its restoration. – The 400-year-old canvas — depicting the beheading of an Assyrian general, Holofernes, by Judith from the biblical Book of Judith — was found in 2014 when the owners of a house near the southwestern city of Toulouse in France, were investigating a leak in the ceiling. It is a burst of violence painted in haunting tones by a Renaissance master worth at least $100 million — or yet another fake distressing the art world.

AFP/Getty

44/50 27 February 2019

Dozens of firefighters worked through the night to battle a major moorland blaze in West Yorkshire. More than 1.5sq km of Saddleworth Moor was ablaze in the early hours of Wednesday morning after the UK’s hottest winter day on record

Reuters

45/50 26 February 2019

Alastair Cook after he received his knighthood at Buckingham Palace

PA

46/50 25 February 2019

Nobby the polar bear cools down at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park during unseasonably warm weather. The park was covered in a blanket of snow at the end of February 2018 as the UK was hit by sub-zero temperatures. Forecasters have said that after this weekend’s warm weather, temperatures later this week should return to normal

PA

47/50 24 February 2019

Olivia Colman won the best actress in a leading role award for ‘The Favourite’ at the 91st Academy Awards in Hollywood

PA

48/50 23 February 2019

Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson seen on the big screen as he addresses a protest over the BBC’s Panorama programme outside the BBC in MediaCityUK, Salford

PA

49/50 22 February 2019

A girl takes a photo of her dog with daffodils in St James’s Park in London

PA

50/50 21 February 2019

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and the party’s Shadow Secretary of State for Departing the European Union Keir Starmer leave a meeting with European Union Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels

Reuters


1/50 11 April 2019

The Milky Way and millions of stars over Dinstanburgh Castle in the early hours of the morning. Dunstanburgh Castle is a 14th-century fortification on the coast of Northumberland in northern England, between the villages of Craster and Embleton. The castle was built by Earl Thomas of Lancaster between 1313 and 1322

PA

2/50 10 April 2019

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May react during an extraordinary European Union leaders summit to discuss Brexit, in Brussels

Reuters

3/50 9 April 2019

England’s Ellen White celebrates after her side go 1-0 up against Spain during their friendly match at the Energy Check County Ground, Swindon. The Lionesses went on to win 2-1

PA

4/50 8 April 2019

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and fellow Labour MPs welcome the newly elected MP for Newport West, Ruth Jones (right), to the Houses of Parliament

PA


5/50 7 April 2019

James Cracknell celebrates after winning the Men’s Boat Race with Cambridge. Former Olympic and World Champion Cracknell, 46, became the oldest entrant in Boat Race history, qualifying after taking up a Master of Philosophy degree in human evolution

Getty

6/50 6 April 2019

Davy Russell, riding Tiger Roll, celebrates winning the Random Health Grand National at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool. He became the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back renewals

EPA

7/50 5 April 2019

Activists in hazmat suits and masks stop traffic in west London in a protest accusing authorities of lying after cancer-causing chemicals were found in soil close to Grenfell Tower

PA

8/50 4 April 2019

England football manager Gareth Southgate with the OBE that he received at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London

PA


9/50 3 April 2019

Newborn lambs in a snow covered field near Allendale, Northumberland, after temperatures dipped below freezing overnight. Hill snow, sleet, showers and gales are expected for parts of the UK as the chilly snap keeps hold.

PA

10/50 2 April 2019

Armathwaite Hall hotel in Keswick, Cumbria holds Lemoga classes with the lemurs from Lake District Wild Life Park, who were mingling with the class to create a personal yoga experience which aims to heighten the sense of wellbeing for both lemur and human. With their friendly, outgoing personalities and love for human contact, lemurs make the perfect yoga buddies, helping people to laugh, unwind and stretch away their troubles

PA

11/50 1 April 2019

Fire fighters attend to two police cars that were destroyed after being set on fire outside Goldthorpe police station in South Yorkshire in a suspected arson attack

PA

12/50 31 March 2019

Forensics teams work at the scene of a stabbing in Edmonton in London. Four people have been stabbed in a spate of knife attacks in the north of the capital over the weekend

Getty


13/50 30 March 2019

Workers from the Honda plant in Swindon during a protest march through the town as the car giant will be urged to reverse its decision to close its UK plant

Unite South West/PA

14/50 29 March 2019

Pro-Brexit protesters outside Westminster as MPs voted on a Government motion on the EU withdrawal

PA

15/50 28 March 2019

England football captain Harry Kane is made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by the Duke of Cambridge during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace

PA

16/50 27 March 2019

Gallery staff give a final dusting to the ‘Olympe’ sculpture by Aspencrow, modelled on Cara Delevingne and an interpretation of Medusa, as it is unveiled at the JD Malay Gallery in Mayfair, London

PA


17/50 26 March 2019

PD Marci with handler PC Neil Billany, PD Kai with handler PC Jean Pearce, PD Bruno with handler Rob Smith, PD Delta with handler PC Mark Snoxhall, PDSA vet Rosamund Ford, and PD Dave with handler PC Andy Salter at Borough market in London where the dogs were honoured with the PDSA Order of Merit for helping emergency services during the 2017 London terror attacks at Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and Borough Market

PA

18/50 25 March 2019

Britain’s Attorney General Geoffrey Cox arrives in Downing street, London for a cabinet meeting. British Prime Minister Theresa May will today chair a potentially volatile meeting of her cabinet amid reports of an attempted coup by colleagues over her handling of Brexit.

AFP/Getty

19/50 24 March 2019

Workers peeling off stickers left on the Cabinet Office door on Whitehall, London, left by anti-Brexit campaigners after they took part in the People’s Vote March

PA

20/50 23 March 2019

Protesters take part in the Put It To The People March on Whitehall in London. Thousands of protesters gathered for the march from Park Lane to Parliament Square calling for a public vote on the Governments final Brexit deal

Getty


21/50 22 March 2019

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after a news briefing after meeting with EU leaders in Brussels

Reuters

22/50 21 March 2019

The mosque and community centre on Albert Road in Birmingham where a police forensic team are at work after it had its windows smashed with a sledgehammer. An investigation involving counter-terrorism officers has been launched after four mosques in the Birmingham area were attacked overnight

PA

23/50 20 March 2019

Gallery technicians install Edvard Munch’s The Scream at the British Museum in London, ahead of the opening of Edvard Munch: love and angst exhibition, which runs from 11 April to 21 July

PA

24/50 19 March 2019

The ‘tall ship’ William II passes a wind turbine as it sails along the north east coast near Whitley Bay in Tyne and Wear after it set off from Blyth in Northumberland on a voyage round the coastline of Great Britain calling at 10 ports en route and changing crews at each stage. The Blyth Tall Ship project is a charity working alongside Blyth community volunteers to recapture the spirit of adventure that was employed in the town to discover the Antarctic 200 years ago and the turbine is part of a pilot field operated by EDF off Blyth which uses concrete float-and-submerge foundations

PA


25/50 18 March 2019

Messenger, the largest bronze cast sculpture in the UK, arrives in Plymouth Sound by barge as it makes its way to be installed outside Theater Royal Plymouth, Devon

PA

26/50 17 March 2019

Flooding in Silsdend, Yorkshire. Heavy rain has caused widespread flooding across the country. Flood warnings remain in place across the UK

PA

27/50 16 March 2019

Police at the scene in Fulham, west London where a 29-year-old man was stabbed to death this morning. The Metropolitan Police said it was called “to reports of a fight in progress” by ambulance crews and arrived on the scene at about 12.27am. The victim was found with stab wounds and died at the scene at 12.56am despite attempts by paramedics and members of the public to save his life

PA

28/50 15 March 2019

Schoolchildren gather around Queen Victoria Memorial at Buckingham Palace as they take part in a student climate protest in London. Thousands of pupils from schools, colleges and universities across the UK will walk out in the second major strike against climate change this year. Young people nationwide are calling on the Government to declare a climate emergency and take action. Similar strikes are taking place around the world today including in Japan and Australia, inspired by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg who criticised world leaders at a United Nations climate conference

Getty


29/50 14 March 2019

Families of those killed during Bloody Sunday march through Bogside in Derry, Northern Ireland. The Public Prosecution Service announced only one former British soldier is to be put on trial in connection with his role in the shootings that left 13 people dead in Derry on 30 January 1972. Families of those killed gathered outside The Museum of Free Derry, yards from where the killings took place, before marching to the city centre hotel to hear the announcement

Charles McQuillan

Getty

30/50 13 March 2019

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond leaves 11 Downing Street as he heads to the House of Commons, to deliver his Spring Statement. He announced he was slashing the UK growth forecast and warned no-deal Brexit will destroy pledge to end austerity

PA

31/50 12 March 2019

British Synchronised swimmers Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe, attempting to recreate their World Championship routine in a pool filled with plastic for The Big Bang Fair challenge, opening this week at the NEC Birmingham. The campaign for the Big Bang competition, which is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) for young people in the UK has been created to help highlight how the eight million tonnes of plastic dumped in the world’s oceans every year affects marine life

PA

32/50 11 March 2019

Snow surrounds the Tan Hill pub in North Yorkshire

PA


33/50 10 March 2019

A man feeds food to dogs during the ‘Brexit Dogs Dinner’ protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London

Reuters

34/50 9 March 2019

Protesters from the climate change pressure group Extinction Rebellion demonstrate by pouring fake blood onto the street outside Downing Street in London

Reuters

35/50 8 March 2019

A woman runs with her Komondor dog as it is judged in a show ring on the second day of the Crufts dog show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham

AFP/Getty

36/50 7 March 2019

Scaffolding which has blown down in strong winds in Hampstead, north London

Robert Berg/Twitter/PA Wire


37/50 6 March 2019

Police and bomb disposal services outside the University of Glasgow after the building was evacuated when a suspect package was found in the mailroom

PA

38/50 5 March 2019

Police officers secure the scene where a suspicious package was found near Waterloo railway station. Other packages were also found at Heathrow Airport and London City Airport, with the police saying they were bombs. Counterterror officers are investigating the three devices as linked following a series of evacuations. One of the packages opened by office staff at Heathrow Airport burst into flames. Scotland Yard did not rule out the existence of other bombs. “The packages – all A4-sized white postal bags containing yellow Jiffy bags – have been assessed by specialist officers to be small improvised explosive devices,” a spokesperson said. “These devices, at this early stage of the investigation, appear capable of igniting an initially small fire when opened. “The Met Police Counter Terrorism Command is treating the incidents as a linked series and is keeping an open mind regarding motives.”

Reuters

39/50 4 March 2019

Large waves crash over the sea walls at Cleveleys near Blackpool, as the remains of Storm Freya, which has battered Britain with gales, heavy rain and snow causes widespread travel disruption

PA

40/50 3 March 2019

Christopher Hepworth with partner Tanisha Prince (right) on their way to victory in the annual UK Wife Carrying Race at The Nower in Dorking, Surrey

PA


41/50 2 March 2019

Police officers search near the scene on St Neot’s Road in Harold Hill, east London following the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old girl on Friday night. Police were called to reports of a knife attack in the Romford area by the ambulance service at 9.25pm. The girl was pronounced dead at the scene just over an hour later. Her next of kin have been informed and detectives from the Metropolitan Police have launched a murder investigation

PA

42/50 1 March 2019

Great Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Niamh Emerson celebrate after winning gold and silver medals in the women’s pentathlon at the 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow

Getty

43/50 28 February 2019

A painting, believed to be the second version of “Judith Beheading Holofernes” by Italian artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, is picutred during a photocall in London following its restoration. – The 400-year-old canvas — depicting the beheading of an Assyrian general, Holofernes, by Judith from the biblical Book of Judith — was found in 2014 when the owners of a house near the southwestern city of Toulouse in France, were investigating a leak in the ceiling. It is a burst of violence painted in haunting tones by a Renaissance master worth at least $100 million — or yet another fake distressing the art world.

AFP/Getty

44/50 27 February 2019

Dozens of firefighters worked through the night to battle a major moorland blaze in West Yorkshire. More than 1.5sq km of Saddleworth Moor was ablaze in the early hours of Wednesday morning after the UK’s hottest winter day on record

Reuters


45/50 26 February 2019

Alastair Cook after he received his knighthood at Buckingham Palace

PA

46/50 25 February 2019

Nobby the polar bear cools down at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park during unseasonably warm weather. The park was covered in a blanket of snow at the end of February 2018 as the UK was hit by sub-zero temperatures. Forecasters have said that after this weekend’s warm weather, temperatures later this week should return to normal

PA

47/50 24 February 2019

Olivia Colman won the best actress in a leading role award for ‘The Favourite’ at the 91st Academy Awards in Hollywood

PA

48/50 23 February 2019

Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson seen on the big screen as he addresses a protest over the BBC’s Panorama programme outside the BBC in MediaCityUK, Salford

PA


49/50 22 February 2019

A girl takes a photo of her dog with daffodils in St James’s Park in London

PA

50/50 21 February 2019

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and the party’s Shadow Secretary of State for Departing the European Union Keir Starmer leave a meeting with European Union Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels

Reuters

It’d probably do a better job than some of those that already have. They’ve ranged from the quietly ineffectual to the callously uncaring to Esther McVey. 

Forget the moggy. Given the choice between her and Marvel uber-villain Thanos, I imagine most disabled people would opt for the giant purple guy with the Infinity Gauntlet. I know I would. 

For those who haven’t seen Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos eliminated half the life in the universe at its climax. But at least he’s an equal opportunities genocidal maniac who never mendaciously tried to pretend Titan (his home) was a “world leader in disability rights”. 

Variations on that line have been trotted out by the Department for Work & Pensions and its ministers in response to some of the critical reports they have faced concerning the way Britain treats its disabled people.

They’ve been pinned by the Parliamentary Work & Pensions Committee (repeatedly), Demos, various disability charities, the United Nations…

Last week the National Audit Office had a go, taking aim at the DWP for a “disappointing lack of insight” when it comes to helping disabled people find jobs.


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Its missive contained some real humdingers. But they’ve all contained some real humdingers.

“Britain is a world leader…” blah, blah, bleurrgh. FYI, that last non-word serves as an attempt to put my throwing up at this point into a literary format. 

Not having a minister in post has drawn criticism from disabled people’s organisations and charities as well as from de Cordova and no wonder. Their policy people must be as frustrated as she is. 

Cleverly said there are still civil servants in the department and they’re working jolly hard, but civil servants are supposed to implement decisions, not take them. 

Nor can they be held accountable democratically for the policies that have made millions of disabled people miserable at best, suicidal at worst. And now I’m not joking. 

In January The Independent revealed that 17,000 sick and disabled people had died while awaiting decisions on their claims for disability benefits. The testing regime regularly coughs up examples of injustice so extreme that many writers would reject them as too outlandish were they up for inclusion in works of fiction. Barely a week goes by without my getting alerted to some fresh example. They’re all dreadful, but so common have they become that to get them into the news these days you need them to be bona fide horror stories. 

“Britain is a world leader…” Bleuurrgh. Bleurrgh. Bleurrgh.

Newton, the most recent disabilities minister, proposed appointing a network of “disability champions” as a means of influencing the policy of a government that doesn’t care enough to actually pay them for the (considerable) work they are supposed to do. So, plus ca change. 

She did at least do the community a favour by resigning over Brexit to fight off a no deal. The current situation is bad, but what we would be faced with courtesy of that hardly bears thinking about.

Even Thanos might think twice about it. He almost looks like an Avenger (the good guys) when set against Jacob Rees-Mogg and his yahoo chums. 

Still, with the government in chaos, and unable to resolve the issue, we might be heading for yet another general election. That means there is a decent chance that de Cordova will get the next shot at the job. 

By contrast to most of those who’ve had it, she actually knows something about the subject because she actually has a disability (she’s visually impaired). 

When it comes to the way Britain deals with its disabled citizens, that almost counts as revolutionary.  

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