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Disability Campaigners Protested Against George Osborne's Cuts Outside PMQs

But journalists were banned from taking photos or making videos of the demonstration.

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Congrats to Disability campaigners for protest currently taking place in Central Lobby - their voices must be heard

Disability campaigners gathered in parliament's central lobby during Prime Minister's Questions to protest against the government's benefit cuts.

Loudly chanting "No more deaths from benefit cuts!", the 20-strong crowd held banners saying: "Is this how to treat disabled people?"

Police officers quickly gathered at the scene and locked the doors between central lobby and the House of Commons chamber in an apparent bid to prevent the protesters gaining access.

Journalists were banned from taking photos or shooting video of the scene, although some MPs decided to get round the rules by tweeting pictures themselves.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, Green party MP Caroline Lucas, Labour's Jess Phillips, and the SNP's Eilidh Whiteford were among those who offered their support.

Came out of #PMQs to meet disabled protesters who are rightfully angry with way they have been treated by this Gov

Protester Claire Glasman told BuzzFeed News she was glad that chancellor George Osborne had U-turned on his plan to curb personal independence payments (PIP) for disabled people, but said there were other concerns.

"People are suffering the consequences of the abolition of disability living allowance, the bedroom tax, the total benefits tax – all of those things are making people's lives a misery and have resulted in the deaths of thousands of sick and disabled people, including those with terminal cancer," she said.

"We want to keep the pressure up on the MPs – lip service is not good enough, we want action and we want things to change so that the people who are suffering now do not have to live in a terrifying insecurity."

Disabled people protesting outside House of Commons Chamber at PMQs. Authorities have prohibited it being broadcast.

Fellow campaigner Martin Tolley said he was angry with the prime minister for refusing to apologise to disabled people over cuts to employment support allowance (ESA).

He told us: "He's nothing but a lying scumbag who doesn't give a shit about disabled people. I've asked those police to go into the chamber and arrest him."

McDonnell was the first MP out of the chamber to support the protest, leaving PMQs early to join the demonstration. Lucas joined the group later and spoke to the group about their concerns.

"People are absolutely right to be saying this is a government that is punishing the most vulnerable people in our society," Lucas said.

"If George Osborne could have got away with it, he would have saddled people with disabilities with yet more cuts in order to give tax breaks to the better off – that is just outrageous, it's obscene."

Disability campaigners blocked in central lobby are calling on MPs who voted through cuts to face them.

Whiteford warned that lots of disabled people were losing their Motability cars due to government cuts. "Many of them will lose their ESA and are also likely to have been disproportionately hit by the bedroom tax," she said.

Lending her support to the protest in central lobby, she said: "People, when they get desperate, use whatever means are open to them. Peaceful protest is an important part of our constitution. It's noisy but it's peaceful."

There is a vibrant disabled protest in Central Lobby but you won't see it because broadcasters are preventing from showing it. Bizarre.

Phillips told BuzzFeed News: "I totally support their right to come and have their voice heard. Part of the problem with governments of all colours is that they forget that people have real faces and real issues and are individuals – so this is a welcome reminder."

The protest later moved outside parliament to allow broadcasters to film.


Emily Ashton is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Emily Ashton at emily.ashton@buzzfeed.com.

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