Demonstration planned in Wymondham in response to MP George Freeman’s comments about disability benefits

George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk. Picture: Steve Adams

George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk. Picture: Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

A march is being planned to protest controversial comments made by Norfolk MP George Freeman about cuts to disability benefits.

Organised by the group Equal Lives, the march will take place on Friday (March 3) in Wymondham in Mr Freeman's constituency of Mid Norfolk.

In an interview with BBC radio on Sunday, Mr Freeman said personal independence payments (PIP) should go to 'the really disabled people who need it' rather than those who were 'taking pills at home, who suffer from anxiety'.

Mr Freeman took to Twitter on Monday to say he 'hugely regrets' if the comments caused offence, and pointed out that he had experienced traumatic anxiety himself.

But Mark Hartrison, chief executive of Equal Lives, said Mr Freeman's comments about PIP were unacceptable.

Mr Hartrison said: 'His comments about disability are crass and ignorant and belong in the last century.

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'I suggest George reads the UN inquiry judgement on the grave and systematic violations of disabled people's rights by his government and then implements the recommendations.'

Mr Hartrison said the Conservative government was continuing with the 'failed austerity policies' of the Coalition which treated people with disabilities harshly.

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He said: 'I really don't understand why disabled people are being singled in this way for more cuts to our independence and living standards.

'What happened to this government's commitment only made last year that cuts to PIP would not go ahead and there would be no more welfare cuts?'

Mr Freeman said in response to the protest plans: 'Whilst I respect everyone's right to demonstrate, surgery meetings are on an appointment basis and I ask any constituents with a personal issue to email or write to my office.'

The march will start from Wymondham's Market Cross at midday, and make its way to Mr Freeman's constituency office.

Equal Lives is a Norfolk-based group which was known as the Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People (NCODP) until 2013. It aims to support people facing 'disabling barriers'.

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