Admission by Scott 'a case for resignation'

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Indy Politics
NICHOLAS SCOTT, the Minister for Disabled People, yesterday faced fresh pressure to resign following an admission that he authorised the drafting of MPs' wrecking amendments to the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill.

In a Commons written answer to a question from Alf Morris, Labour MP for Manchester Wythenshawe, Mr Scott admitted: 'On April 20 I authorised my officials to instruct parliamentary counsel to draft amendments.'

The 20 April date was 16 days before Mr Scott told the Commons on 6 May that he took 'no part whatever in the drafting of any of the amendments and, to the best of my knowledge, nobody in my department has been involved in the drafting of any amendments in this area'.

Roger Berry, Labour MP for Kingswood and the Bill's sponsor, said: 'It is as clear a case of resignation as there has ever been. A mere 16 days before denying to the Commons that he had no involvement in the drafting of the amendents, tonight's reply proves that he was talking with his officials on how to assist five of his backbenchers in drafting 80 wrecking amendments.'

The Government suffered its second Lords defeat on the Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Bill yesterday. Peers voted 132 to 117 to allow the most severely disabled people the higher rate of incapacity benefit ( pounds 57.60 and allowances instead of pounds 52.50 flat rate) after 28 weeks rather than 52.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham (Labour) said the change would benefit thousands but cost less than pounds 5m a year.