6 December 2007
Benefits and Work is not for one moment suggesting that Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain is a fraud or a thief simply because he failed to declare thousands of pounds in donations to his campaign to be Deputy Prime Minister.
But if he were a benefit claimant who had made a similar 'administrative oversight' his own department would treat him as if he were. So Benefits and Work has sent Mr Hain a poster to remind him of that fact . . . we've also asked him to do the honourable thing and resign.
Peter Hain is the man currently overseeing the introduction of lie detectors for use on all sick and disabled people making claims for benefits. He is also the man who has stepped up the rhetoric against 'benefit thieves' and 'sicknote Britain'. He is happy to see sick and disabled claimants forced to repay thousands of pounds in benefits if they fail, entirely innocently, to understand and abide by the incredibly complex web of benefits laws which his own department frequently misapplies.
Yet when Peter Hain fails to follow the remarkably simple rule that you have to tell people when you get given money as an MP, he appears to feel no shame and certainly no duty to resign. He has not even mentioned the possibility of repaying the money out of his own extremely ample minister's salary.
Benefits and Work has written to Mr Hain explaining our disgust that he is prepared to be so much more lenient on himself than he is on the sick and disabled people with whom his department deals so harshly.
We have asked Mr Hain to behave with at least a shred of honour and resign or, alternatively, accept that the nickname 'Hain the Hypocrite' is amply deserved. We'll let you know if we hear back from Mr Hain . . . or his lawyers.
Download a larger Hain poster.
© 2007 Steve Donnison