Art and design






Life and style








US news

World news

Calls for Theresa May to reconsider Esther McVey's move to DWP

Esther McVey
Labour expressed ‘grave concern’ about Esther McVey because HSE prohibition notices are an area covered by the DWP. Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP

Labour has called on Theresa May to rethink the appointment of Esther McVey as work and pensions secretary because McVey was a director of a demolition company served with health and safety prohibition notices, an area covered by her department.

Jon Trickett, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, has written to the prime minister saying he had grave concern about McVey’s promotion in this week’s reshuffle because of the two notices served on the firm in 2003 owing to unsafe scaffolding.

The notices from the Health and Safety Executive were against JG McVey and Co, a now-closed firm run by McVey’s father. Esther McVey was a director of the company from February 2003 to March 2006.

In July 2003, HSE inspectors issued an immediate prohibition notice, stopping work at a demolition site in Liverpool after workers were seen using scaffolding without proper protective edge rails. In September that year, work was halted on the site for the same reason.

In 2013, McVey was made employment minister in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), a brief which initially included oversight of the HSE. However, after her connection to the infringements came to light, that element of the job was removed.

As work and pensions secretary – a job she gained after Justine Greening opted to leave the government rather than take on the brief – McVey now has overall responsibility for workplace health and safety among her duties.

In his letter to May, Trickett wrote: “While Ms McVey was a director of this demolitions firm, it was served with two prohibition notices for serious breaches of health and safety at work, including workers reportedly on scaffolding without any edge protection.

“As a director, she was one of the people ultimately responsible for endangering her workers. These violations happened on her watch.”

He added that “137 people were fatally injured at work last year, an unacceptable number. On top of this, thousands of people suffered a non-fatal injury.

“It begs the question whether it is appropriate for someone who has previously been in breach of health and safety regulations to be promoted to a role that is meant to protect people at work.”

A DWP spokesman said: “These compliance notices were dealt with to a satisfactory standard at the time.”

This article titled "Calls for Theresa May to reconsider Esther McVey's move to DWP" was written by Peter Walker and Rowena Mason, for on Friday 12 January 2018 03.07pm


Ukip faces 'reform or die' moment, warns Nigel Farage

Ukip faces a “reform or die” moment, Nigel Farage has warned, as insiders say the party is losing… Read more

Brexit weekly briefing: a softer stance, or wishful thinking?

Welcome to the Guardian’s weekly Brexit briefing. If you would like to receive it as a weekly… Read more

Russia is biggest threat to UK since cold war, says head of British army

The chief of the general staff, Gen Sir Nicholas Carter, has described Russia as the biggest… Read more

Hammond dismisses Johnson's talk of post-Brexit NHS dividend

Economic confidence is suffering due to the UK’s impending withdrawal from the EU, Philip Hammond… Read more

Westminster council rejects Margaret Thatcher statue plans

Councillors have rejected a proposal for a statue of Margaret Thatcher on Parliament Square in… Read more

Anger as Labour selects one BME candidate in marginal seats

Black and ethnic minority Labour MPs have expressed concern after a Guardian analysis revealed… Read more

Social media 'micro-targeting' of voters on the increase, MPs told

The manipulation of social media data to “micro-target” voters without their consent has… Read more

New national security unit set up to tackle fake news in UK

The government is to set up a dedicated national security unit to tackle fake news and… Read more

Que sera, sera, Hunt's Brexit complacency strikes fear into committee | John Crace

“I’m Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary.” Hunt said by way of introduction. Before pausing and… Read more

Bolton's refusal to go gives Ukip huge opportunity - Farage

Nigel Farage has said the embattled Ukip leader, Henry Bolton, would lose a vote of party members… Read more