“I’m not seeing Spartacus” DWP’s Hoban emphatically tells Michael Meacher MP as DWP Ministers run frit of seeing delegation on Atos Healthcare

Michael Meacher MP
Michael Meacher MP

This week something happened which is without precedent in my 40 years of Parliamentary experience.

On an issue of acute public importance where there had already been a Parliamentary debate revealing a total cross-party consensus solidly opposed to government policy, a Departmental minister then refused to see a delegation to discuss the matter further and to consider necessary changes in procedure.  

This issue, the work capability assessments carried out by Atos Healthcare, has been a top-line matter on the political agenda for many months now.  

I had therefore written to Iain Duncan Smith on 31 January asking him to receive a delegation from some of the key campaigning and analytical groups (I had, regrettably, to restrict this to three).  

I heard nothing for more than 5 weeks and therefore put down a Parliamentary Question on the Commons Order Paper asking when he proposed to answer my letter.  

As a result I got an immediate reply from Mark Hoban, the junior minister dealing with Atos matters, saying

“my current diary requirements mean I am unable to accept your invitation at this time”.  

That is simply civil service-speak for a flat No.  

But I have taken the matter further.

I therefore waylaid Hoban in the lobbies after a vote and as soon as he saw me, he said immediately

“I’m not seeing you”.  

I was taken aback at his aggressiveness and said

“But you can’t possibly do this , this is a matter of the highest political importance and it’s your responsibility to talk to and listen to key disability organisations about this matter, however contentious it might be”.  

He simply replied blankly

“I’m not seeing you”,

and repeated it 3 or 4 times.  

I kept on insisting

“Why not?’”

and finally he said

“I’m not seeing Spartacus”.  

Again I was taken aback and asserted that in my view Spartacus had analysed hundreds of cases, prepared a very detailed and thoughtful analysis of the implications arising from these cases, and even if he disagreed strongly for whatever reasons it was his responsibility to meet them.  

To this he simply kept repeating

“I’m not meeting Spartacus”.

After thinking over this exchange later I decided to apply for an Adjournment debate, not on Atos as such, but on ‘Ministers’ refusal to accept a delegation on Atos Healthcare’.  

I also went to see the Speaker about what I consider to be the unprecedented and wholly unreasonable and unacceptable behaviour of DWP ministers, and he listened carefully.  

I am now very pleased to say that I have obtained an Adjournment debate next Thursday, 21st, at 5pm in the Commons chamber.  

I intend to use this opportunity to bring this whole matter to a head.

29 thoughts on ““I’m not seeing Spartacus” DWP’s Hoban emphatically tells Michael Meacher MP as DWP Ministers run frit of seeing delegation on Atos Healthcare

  1. mark says:

    Well done to the Rt. Hon. Mr. Meacher MP. I have been, and will continue to follow this very closely, as I’m sure many, many others will too.

  2. jeffery davies says:

    well mmeacher my thanks for chasing these vile humans but there again will anything done about the abuse jeff3

  3. Laz says:

    Well done to the Rt. Hon. Mr. Meacher MP. This present Government is forcing draconian and inhumane policies upon the electorate ,unman-dated and because the issues are clearly against UN & EU human rites criminal in their intent.

  4. miss carole frost says:

    i give praise to you mr meacher you are fighting all the way for us disabled you have a heart of gold i have been disabled all my 57years i have never known a conservative mp who would speak up for us ..this coalision government lead by david cameron do not or do they realise the damage they are doing and have done to poor sick and disabled people of the uk this government who are in are causing this country so much damage to the economy by taking it all out on us disabled he is destroying human rights making it impossible to gain access to legal proceedings i find this all wrong the legal system is for everyone rich or poor..mr cameron wants to take the human rights away from everyone it is illegal what he is doing he should be facing trial against humanity under the human rights courts in the hague so many people have died through this government how many more via through ATOS healthcare forcing sick and disabled to work or lose vital benefits.

  5. Jonnie says:

    Well done Mr Meacher. I watched the recent 3 hour Parliamentary debate and Mark Hoban is in total denial despite being presented with scores of facts. It’s so frustrating to hear the DWP twist figures in the face of the truth. Many, many are suffering. Please keep up the pressure.

  6. keith james ackermann says:

    Typical bloody tory! Dishes it out, but can’t take it! I recall that Crassus (Spartacus’ enemy), after beating him, got bigheaded and tried to take on the Persians at Carrhae; he made such a pigs ear of the battle that his own staff officers killed him in an attempt to prevent the Romans losing; they still failed!
    PS; I’m Spartacus! I’m Spartacus! I’m Spartacus !(etc.)


    So they are advocating retrospective legislation to deny paying money back to the workfare claimants….

    What an act of desperation indeed.

    This is not the act of a caring government, but the act of a fascist state.
    How on gods earth, could a legislation like this be plucked out of thin air, to save the government paying out circa £130,000,000!

    Its beyond belief…..

    They drop a huge bollock, get taken to court, lose the case and then legislate to overturn the law in their favour…….

    One things certain, if retrospective voting was introduced, these bastards would not be in power!!!


    Hoban refuses to see Spartacus……

    If i had my way, this insignificant little pimp would be seeing stars!!

  9. jay says:

    “Notably in Russia and Germany where the idea that the ancient social system and its core values were responsible for the demise of both nations was supported by a majority of people and political leaders. In Germany, long before 1933, legal theorists were rejecting the idea that states were bound by a set of external and abstract legal norms that guaranteed the civil rights of the individuals and an independent judicial system.”

    “It is simply amazing that highly trained professionals could endorse such ideas.”

    This government and supporters of the Bio Pyscho social model seem to be doing the same thing

    “The consequences of such a state of mind were immense and double :
    the State was above the law
    the law was an instrument in the war against the enemies of the society”

    This government of today again seem to have the same way of thinking

    1. Boadacia! says:

      But we know these are just a bunch of fascist criminals hiding behind their suits, and we’ve had those before! The guillotine/rope will come! Just as it has before.

  10. Humanity2012 says:

    I am Pissed Off with the Arrogance of Tory Politicians

    They are a Waste of Money and Need to Resign

  11. Serenity says:

    Nothing amazing about it, being well educated and from a privileged background has no bearing whatsoever on intelligence but unfortunately does give them access too power.

  12. Deborah Vallance says:

    Any government that seeks to demonise and harrass the poor and disabled desrves to be hated as much as this present government is.

  13. Larry McCauley says:

    Perhaps IDS would like to follow ATOS’s advice to a woman suffering from Chrone’s disease on the 21st and wear a nappy to work. He might need it. This is something he and the Tory party are dreading.

  14. Laz says:

    Perhaps if we all go to France , Germany or Spain & claim refuge as a persecuted minority, many of who have Died by Domicide, the EU or UN could site the UK for crimes of violation of our Human Rights .

  15. Matthew Newman says:

    Well, kids, with all due respect, we’re not going to effect much change at this rate. I’m thinking it might actually be better to try and restructure society in general — and a lot less hassle than dealing with the tenuous trio of Lord Freud, IDS and Hoban.

    I’m currently undergoing Peer Support Worker training through the Institute for Mental Health, Nottingham; strangely funded by my local NHS. I have had the idea of appealing to the Recovery College at Nottingham with a pointed plan for Clinical Reformism which would sweep many of these problems away, and is certainly going to be a lot easier than effectively trying to turn back the clock.

    Take mental health (the field I am best acquainted with) there’s a lot the clinicians have to say, and the anti-psychiatrists agree with none of it — vice versa also applies, as you might imagine. This leaves a lot of open ground in the midriff of the frey.

    Look at what superstring theory is doing with physics. Einsteins ‘general relativity’ and ‘quantum mechanics’ were never going to mesh, until superstrings. A lot of people I know have postulated that this was the incarnation of Einstein’s Unified Field Theory… albeit the realisation of that theory never came to pass.

    Why does/will superstring theory work? IMHO, because we’re redefining some of the base elements of both foundations of knowledge — from the macrocosm right down to the microcosm. If we, the disabled, want to survive it’s not going to be as we are now, and is going to require re-writing some of the book in a similar manner.

    In terms of mental health, I think three things would make the difference: (1) clinical jargon and records transparency (2) co-operation and co-ordinance in recovery efforts between clinicians and patients/carers, and (3) shared responsibility between upper-echelon clinicians and the people on the ground.

    Think it’s impossible? Well, if DWP and the NHS don’t want to play ball on our turf (and we’re simply unable to play it on the sheer granite slopes of theirs) then they’re simply going to have to meet us in the middle before all pandemonium breaks loose!

    I have connections with the Recovery College at Nottingham and enough clinical knowledge to back up much of the assertions many I have known to possess valuable insight (in absence of a degree) into the problem. I don’t feel certain that I can make the changes on my own, but I feel certain that I can get the ball rolling. Anyone who wants information of has information should contact me at: mpnewman@gmx.com

  16. Ange KRUMS says:

    We pay there wages. They need to be answerable to any questions put forward to them. Arrogant fuck wits. They need to take a pay cut. They get paid to much money then act like shit heads. This country is fucked. It’s all starting to look like the maggie thatcher years and the poll tax shit. And miners strikes. How an earth did DC get into the most top job of this country. Flipping dick head. They are a bunch of jumped up
    TOFF’S. with big fat personal fortunes. They need to go away and tax themselves.
    Wonder how many of them are on the fiddle with there own personal taxation of there millions and millions.
    They think they are above everybody else and quiet frankly it is starting to make me sick. I can not watch the news because I can not stand DC, he has got a face like a shrew. He can not be trusted and is full of bullshit……

  17. GEOFF REYNOLDS says:

    I watched the budget in anticipation, my hands sticky with excitement, my pulse racing uncontrollably.

    Dream on………

    Had Incapacity Benefit for life, stolen from me. £8350 loss per annum and yet i can celebrate one penny from a pint of beer……..

    Is it me who is cynical or what?

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