Coffee House

Esther McVey shows that the Tories are aggressively on message

31 March 2014

5:23 PM

31 March 2014

5:23 PM

Work and Pensions Questions in the Commons has long been a battle between the two main parties for the moral high ground, but today Esther McVey, who appeared even more energetic than usual, made that battle just a little bloodier. She scolded Sheila Gilmore for not smiling when she talked about more people in employment and then listed ‘all the good news that is happening’. Then she told Stephen Hepburn that he hadn’t read the figures on the labour market, joking that ‘the honourable gentleman spoke with gusto but that was all he spoke with’. She was quite keen on the word ‘gusto’, actually, praising Nigel Adams for asking a question ‘with such gusto’. And then Labour MP William Bain told her about a young man in his constituency who was desperate for work after being out of work for 18 months, and asked McVey what she had to say to this constituent. McVey went in for the kill. She bellowed:

‘Well I would like to have a word with the young chap that you’re talking about because what I’d like to give him is hope and optimism, something you’re distinctly not giving by running down – I apologise! [as MPs shouted ‘oooh!’], Mr Speaker, not your good self, but the honourable member from the opposition because what that young chap needs is hope, he needs optimism, he needs to know what is happening in the rest of the country because other people are getting jobs, youth unemployment has gone down, long-term youth unemployment has gone down and if he sticks with it, and gives it a go, he will get there in the end and that is the best news I can give him because it’s far better under this government than it was under the Labour government where youth unemployment went up by 45 per cent!’

[audioboo url=””]McVey vs Bain[/audioboo]


This clearly had nothing to do with rumours circulating the Westminster Village that McVey could soon fly into the Cabinet.

In spite of the rising animosity in the Shadow Cabinet about Labour’s strategy, the party’s backbenchers are still bang on message, asking ministers repeatedly to adopt Labour’s compulsory jobs guarantee. But Conservative ministers are now even more aggressively on message, referring as often as they can to ‘our long-term economic plan’ and attacking Labour for failing to move disabled people back into work. There was some fury from the Opposition benches when Iain Duncan Smith made that claim, but he ploughed on. He and McVey are clearly keen to fight as aggressively as Labour on welfare.

P.S. Today’s session was quite energetic, but lobby journalists in the press gallery were still a little surprised to see a couple holding hands and nuzzling one another happily in the public gallery above the Chamber. Who knew DWP questions was the latest hot date in London?

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Show comments
  • Theoderic Braun

    I believe that Ms McVey is the very model of a modern Tory minister (ambitious, ruthless, dishonest and incompetent) and because I want the Conservatives to lose the next election hope against all odds that McVey gets promoted and appears as frequently as humanly possible, in public, before the next general election. Voters should have as many chances as possible to scrutinise the type of person that could well end up running the country for five years if they mistakenly vote Conservative in 2015. Forewarned is forearmed. Thank you in advance for all of your sterling work on behalf of the opposition Esther.

  • Monkey_Bach

    Once upon a time it was a five year long “Plan A” which slowly morphed into a so-called “Long Term Economic Plan” because “Plan A” failed to do what it was supposed to do within its allotted period. Iain Duncan Smith once claimed that by this time over a million people would be receiving Universal Credit and that all new benefit claims would be for Universal Credit by April 2014: in fact, to date, only about 6,000 single-people without children, the simplest kind of claimant possible, are receiving Universal Credit which disaster IDS now claims has happened by design because he “wanted to do things right” and roll out Universal Credit slowly in order to avoid mistakes. As far as Universal Credit is concerned “on time and on budget” went out of the window long ago. When people challenged Universal Credit’s “digital by default” set up, which many in the know stated would make life very difficult for non-IT savvy individuals with no internet access, the DWP stated that “digital by default” was good because it helped inexpert people gain IT skills which would help them get (or get better) jobs.

    So, see, there is no failure in politics only redefinition of scales and terms.

    Esther McVey lies every time her lips move and is tipped for the cabinet.

    Where else could such an outstanding and “honourable” lady be fated to end up?

    Birds of a feather, eh?

  • saffrin

    Two main parties?
    That would be LibLabCon and UKIP then.
    I love the fact LibLabCon still masqueraded as three separate entities. UKIP can’t lose with them dividing their support in such a way.
    After me, arf, arf, arf.

  • HookesLaw

    On or off message the problems governments face – any government – is highlighted today when the IPCC published their latest report. A paean to hyperbole and scaremongering. Yet this is trumpeted by the BBC and other media and a swathe of scientists on the gravy train. The govt official chief scientist goes along with it.
    Macmillan summed it up. ‘Events’. That is events which are outside a governments control. The entire world is being taken in by the IPCC and its going to affect us all.

  • tom jones

    I like her. She takes the fight to Labour rather than constantly being on the back foot and also she isn’t a posh, middle-aged white male. Very rare in today’s party :/

  • Smithersjones2013

    He and McVey are clearly keen to fight as aggressively as Labour on welfare.

    What does Hardman expect them to submissively wave a white flag?

  • Terence Hale

    Esther McVey shows that the Tories are aggressively on message. Mrs. McVay as another of Mr. Cameron’s puppets is just a courier of the Pension industry who for many years of high interest rates feed many a fat cat and now have problems with low interest and high employment. Mrs. Mcvey should be careful of the boomerang
    when high interest rates return.

  • Christopher Horne

    A slight aside. Esther seems like the sort of MP I can admire…she has actually had quite a few years in a real job, has pro-actively started things and been successful. I wish her all the best.

    • telemachus

      Esther is one of the few Tory MP’s that I have met, got to know and Respect
      Like Andy Burnham she has those true scouser qualities of caring, competence and wit
      I see her as your Harriet Harman

      • Colonel Mustard

        Don’t insult her.

      • Frank

        Andy Burnham, who did so well with the NHS brief, so caring and so competent.

  • swatnan

    She is pretty.
    Was it a gay couple just married, canoodling in the public gallery?

  • Tom Chance

    Surely the Tory Cabinet, rather than the Labour Shadow Cabinet…

  • Kitty MLB

    What do you mean fly into the shadow cabinet??
    The thought of giving the matches back to the perpetrators who ravaged this country
    doesn’t bear thinking about..
    I suggest the government be far more forceful and aggressive, they have a duty to save this country from the evil that is a labour government ( and the Lib Dems)
    You mention Sheila Gilmore.. apologies for being rude, but that woman resembles
    a medieval washerwoman.

    • telemachus

      Let us hear William Bain’s side of the story


      “Under-employment, and the low skilled, low paid work created by the labour market over the last few years, have made the cost of living crisis worse for millions of the working poor. The Resolution Foundation have established that 4.8m people across the UK earn less the rate set by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation for the living wage in the UK – up by 1.4m since 2009. Other analysis I recently received from the ONS shows that in parts of the North East of England, around half to two-thirds of part-time workers earn less than the living wage. In parts of Northern Ireland, and the South and South West of England, poverty pay among part-time employees is equally endemic. Even in Iain Duncan-Smith’s constituency, over two part-time workers in every five earn pay which is less than a living wage. With women being more likely to be in part-time work than men, this is not just an issue of economic injustice, but of gender inequality too. Worse than that, the costs of poverty pay are creating an even larger burden for the state.”

      • Alexsandr

        well labour spent all the money, and millipedes climate change act made fuel poverty worse.

        then we had to listen to the climate change muppets on the BBC again today with their cr@p science

        • telemachus

          We spent the money
          On your health service
          And your children’s education

          • Alexsandr

            no you didnt. you spent jarvis and sercos money and we have to pay it back over 25 years. its called dodgy accounting

            • telemachus

              You mention the plant
              What about the NHS access times down from an average of 11 months to 5 weeks
              You care not about the reduction in human misery so arranged
              Sad that smug Hunt is reversing it

              • HookesLaw

                Waiting times in Labour run Wales have gone up. They are waiting twice as long as in England

                • Tom Tom

                  They shouldn’t have give free Prescriptions then

          • Colonel Mustard

            To no useful purpose since the elderly died neglected in Burnham’s common purpose hospitals and children left school unable to read or write or add up.

            • Gareth

              All of them???

            • telemachus

              I really cannot accept this malicious garbage you peddle about Andy just because you fear him because he is good
              You folks absolutely need to understand what has gone on here
              Universal free health, one of the great triumphs of our project had lost its way because of the age demographic and the march of medical technology

              Fowler, Clarke, Bottomley, Dorrell and their political masters had failed to understand this and the access to health and standards of care progressively fell

              As I have reminded you half of all patients died on cardiac waiting lists and elderly folks were racked in pain for five years before their new hips

              Gordon’s magnificent efforts began to reverse this and co-incident with this Andy recognised the need to drive up quality instituting inquiries and effective regulation

              Thank God he will be back

              • Colonel Mustard

                The main source of malicious garbage on this site is you. Your puerile hagiography of the gruesome gang sitting on the opposition benches is tedious. Your tagging of every top comment is tedious. Your sanctimonious boasting is tedious.

                The only thing about Burnham I fear would be having to go into an NHS hospital with him as Health Secretary. That would be an alarming prospect. Fortunately I still have my Army water bottle so at least I wouldn’t have to drink out of flower vases.

              • Frank

                You really do need to either increase your dosage, or to get better meds.
                Do you not understand that TB and GB bankrupted this country?
                Do you not understand that the labour front bench is unfit for office until they understand and admit this?

            • Tom Tom

              Children have been crappily educated for >30 years, Labour simply helped them get qualifications without collecting tokens from Kelloggs boxes

        • Mynydd

          If Labour spent all the money how come Mr Cameron/Osborne can give away £11,000,000,000 a year to be wasted on so called International Aid

          • Ricky Strong

            Because we both know that money has nothing to do with aid and everything to do with buttering-up countries for trade. The conservatives do it and your lot did it.

            • Mynydd

              Conservatives are increasing the international aid budget at the same time as more and more of our working people are having to use food banks so that their children can eat.

              • Ricky Strong

                Wonderful this EU project is it not? Such prosperity.

            • Frank

              Delusional, it is all about Dave and Clegg’s egos, just as it was with Gordon Brown.

      • Colonel Mustard

        I think we can safely discount anything you write here. Two years ago you boasted:-

        “On the other hand (Hollande) is a political megastar worthy of our own Ed Balls.”

      • Kitty MLB

        We were forced to listen to you for 13 years, all that nonsensical
        brainwashing balderdash. So please Telemachus..Show some mercy.

    • crackenthorp

      what a stupid post, still all tories tell lies

  • MalcolmRedfellow

    @ William Haworth:

    Well, after the General Election, of course. And she’d be good.

  • William Haworth

    Shadow cabinet??