Employment Minister Alok Sharma today (Monday 11th February) continued to deny the use of deflection tactics to rush Universal Credit claimants off the helpline – despite his boss Amber Rudd admitting in a Sky News interview that DWP intranet documents revealed the practice had gone on.
Today at DWP questions in the House of Commons, Scottish Labour MP for Midlothian Danielle Rowley challenged ministers to apologise for denying the use of deflection scripts and to take “meaningful steps” to ensure there is no repeat.
Ms Rowley uncovered documents revealed in a Sky News report 10 days ago, which proved the DWP had repeatedly lied about the use of deflection scripts. But instead of taking the opportunity to say sorry, Mr Sharma simply doubled down on the DWP’s denials.
Speaking afterwards Ms Rowley said:
“We have heard Amber Rudd dance around the fact that the DWP lied repeatedly, only acknowledging that ‘there shouldn’t be a deflection script strategy’ in the future.
“But the fact is that the DWP systematically adopted this strategy and then attempted to hide the truth – effectively calling the whistleblower, Bayard Tarpley, a liar in the process.
“Despite the department’s attempts to frustrate my requests to obtain the documents under the Freedom of Information Act, they failed. We have seen the evidence. “
“It time for ministers to finally face up to the truth. It’s time for Amber Rudd to come clean and it’s time to change this unacceptable culture within the DWP.”
Watch Danielle’s video on the subject below.