Point of Order: PM’s refusal to publish data

I raised a poDWP logoint of order in the House of Commons yesterday asking Mr Speaker for his advice on getting a response from the Prime Minister. I have raised with the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions time and time again, the question of when they will publish data on social security claimants who have died since November 2011.

I have since followed up my point of order with a Written Parliamentary Question and to really put pressure on the Government for their delaying tactics, I have also written to the Prime Minister asking for this data to be published.

Please see below for my point of order from Hansard:

Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Three weeks ago today, the Prime Minister promised to publish data on the number of people in receipt of employment and support allowance and incapacity benefit who had died since November 2011, including those who had been found fit for work. Indeed, I raised it as a point of order on the same day. To date, nothing has been published. These people who died and their families deserve better than this. As we are approaching the summer recess, I will be very grateful if you can advise me on how I might expedite the publication of these data—on actual deaths and not just mortality rates as the Government have proposed.

Mr Speaker: The short answer to the hon. Lady, whose long-standing interest in this subject is well known, is that she must use the device of questioning, and there are further opportunities for questioning of various sorts between now and when we rise for the summer recess. If that method does not suit her, for whatever reason—and sometimes it has to be done more than once, even several times—there will be the opportunity, of course, to offer thoughts in the summer Adjournment debate, though I accept that she might not elicit a substantive reply from the responsible Minister. Use of the Order Paper and of the various opportunities for oral questioning—she will know that there are a number of different options on that front—would be her best course, and I advise her to try to take it. [Interruption.] The hon. Lady very courteously says from a sedentary position that she has done that several times. As I have sometimes had cause to observe, repetition is not a novel phenomenon in the House of Commons, and sometimes a Member who has done something several times simply has to resolve to do it again and again—and there will be such opportunities for the hon. Lady on that matter and for other Members on matters that concern them.

My Written Parliamentary Question to the Prime Minister:

Asked by Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth) on: 15 July 2015

Prime Minister

To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his Answer of 24 June 2015, Official Report, columns 885-6, when he expects numbers of deaths of people declared fit to work and related standardised mortality ratios to be published.

The Prime Minister should respond to my question on Monday and if he does not give a publication date I will be using other parliamentary methods to elicit a proper response.

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