Stephen Crabb was announced as the new Minister for Work and Pensions this morning, in the wake of Iain Duncan Smith's resignation. Mr Duncan Smith announced his shock resignation last night, citing concerns that benefit cuts had gone "too far". For many, he came to be synonymous with the government's austerity programme as he fronted many of the Government's most controversial policies.
Mr Crabb will be wishing to avoid the same criticisms as his predecessor, however an image purportedly from his constituency suggests his reputation may be headed in a similar direction.
A photograph posted online claims to show the front of Mr Crabb's constituency office in Preseli Pembrokeshire defaced with graffiti which reads: "Why do you hate the sick?"
Speaking to The Pembrokeshire Herald earlier this week, Mr Crabb said: "I am aware of the graffiti and currently dealing with it. I'm disappoined that some individuals choose to vandalise my office instead of makign an appointment to see me to discuss their concerns. There are lots of ways to communicate to convey concerns but criminal damage just isn't an option."
Parliamentary records show that Mr Crabb supported Government plans last week to cut the Personal Independence Payment which has been described as a lifeline for vulnerable disabled people, possibly prompting the graffiti.
Mr Cragg told The Pembrokeshire Herald that he stood by his decision, saying: "Of course we are protecting those that are 'too ill to work'. There is no question about that. Those with the most severe health conditions and disabilities will quite rightly continue to get a higher rate of benefit support. The truth is that not all disabilities prevent people from working, in fact I know many disabled people locally who get a great deal of satisfaction from being in work."
He has previously spoken of his support for welfare cuts as part of austerity, telling The Spectator in July 2015: "We talk about the remarkable recovery across the UK over the last three or four years and it has been incredible. You don't get that without having reformed welfare. It is a key part in driving the fall in unemployment... we are working towards a society where there are fewer people caught in dependency, fewer people who are out of work and need that intervention from the state."
The Independent has contacted Mr Crabb for comment.Reuse content