North West Hampshire’s MP, Kit Malthouse has issued a statement today after being asked to step down from his role as patron of Andover’s MS Society.
In the statement, which is published in full below, Malthouse says that he did not seek the position. and had no desire to stay on if the members did not wish him to do so.
Donna Birch, Chair of Andover’s MS Society told Andover news website, Andover and Villages, “We feel sadly let down by our patron’s actions.
“Enough stress has already been put on our members by the upheaval of the benefits system, this just adds to their worries.”
Andover’s MS Society had not received any direct contact regarding the situation from Kit Malthouse at the time of publication.
Kit Malthouse MP’s statement:
I was sorry to hear that Andover MS Society do not want me to continue as patron. Obviously if they wish to find a different patron that is a matter for them. I have no desire to remain if their members do not wish me to do so. I did not seek the position but I was very pleased when they asked me, not least since MS has affected my wider family in the past and I believe there has been wide misunderstanding about what is proposed.
The vote last week means no one who currently claims ESA will see any change whatsoever, and neither will anyone who cannot work at all. From 2017 new applicants will get the same amount as Job Seekers Allowance but with significantly enhanced help to stay in work for as long as possible. Given the strong desire of newly disabled people to continue working this seems sensible especially since having a job is surely the best therapy of all. Personal Independence Payments will also be available where needed.
For people with a permanent condition such as MS, there will also be a really positive change when the 52 week cap on contributory ESA will be lifted, meaning those with savings or a working partner, can continue to receive ESA indefinitely without being means tested, and work themselves up to 16 hours a week. I know this will benefit many people with MS in the future.
The MS Society undertake incredibly important support and outreach work and I will remain a strong supporter. I will obviously continue with my work on life sciences in particular, helping to stimulate research and investment generally, in the hope of finding therapies and cures for MS and other rare diseases.
MS Society Patron Malthouse Votes to Cut Disability Allowance – https://www.andoverandvillages.co.uk/andover-news-in-andover-and-villages/andover-local-news-headlines/3954-ms-society-patron-malthouse-votes-to-cut-disability-allowance
Andover’s MS Society Ask Malthouse to Step Down – https://www.andoverandvillages.co.uk/andover-news-in-andover-and-villages/3962-andover-s-ms-society-ask-malthouse-to-step-down-as-patron