Recent public opinion regarding the continued support by Tory MPs who voted for disability cuts while acting as patrons for disability charities has resulted in three notable local casualties.
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for West Worthing and Nick Gibb, MP for Bognor Regis have all been deselected as patrons of local mental health charity Coastal West Sussex Mind.
The move to oust Tim Loughton was started by a local resident via a petition which gained over 3,000 signatures in just a few days. Other MPs are being targeted by a campaign through DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts).
Katie Glover, CEO of Coastal West Sussex Mind, said:
“Our number one priority has always been, and will continue to be, supporting local people affected by mental health problems, ensuring they have a voice on the issues that matter to them, such as access to talking therapies and benefits. Rather than have a small number of high profile individuals as patrons, we want to move towards a much broader engagement of a wide and diverse range of community organisations and individuals to champion our work and our cause across the county.
With one in four people experiencing a mental health problem in any given year, we welcome the support of a range of people in helping raise awareness of mental health problems and pushing this important issue up the agenda, in order to secure the funding so desperately needed to support those of us affected by poor mental health.
“With this in mind, our Board of Trustees decided to cease the role of Patron as of 8th April, and we have written to our four existing Patrons to advise them of this decision.”
There is little doubt that this is yet another scalp for campaigners aiming to highlight the incompatibility of some Tory MPs representing certain charities whose users often rely on the very benefits the Conservatives want to cut.