Letter: Portillo plays politics with the disabled

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Sir: Michael Portillo's current enthusiasm for following the letter of the law is in stark contrast to his attitude to the collection of the poll tax when it was his responsibility at the Department of the Environment. Then, the rather arcane but legally correct, point concerning the inadmissability of computer evidence (essential for collecting tax) was blithely ignored until the High Court confirmed it. The law was changed the same day.

He could take an equally pragmatic view concerning employment of the disabled. Even if someone were prepared to go to the European Court and the judgement did eventually go against the Government (not a foregone conclusion), alternative European legislation could by then be in place.

It would seem that Mr Portillo is using the disabled to score a point against Brussels and reinforce his free-market credentials with the right. Such breathtaking cynicism must be an example of that current British characteristic of which he so recently complained. If we are now a nation of cynics, with ministers like this, who could blame us?

Yours faithfully,


London, EC4

16 August