Tory leaves charity after he backed cuts
A top Tory has been forced to resign as patron of a charity – because he voted for controversial benefit cuts.
Zac Goldsmith, a Conservative MP and the party’s London mayoral candidate, backed slashing payments of £30 a week to half a million disabled people.
He supported the work and pensions secretary's Iain Duncan Smith-inspired savaging of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
And this week he has been forced out as patron of Richmond AID, a disability charity in west London.
Having voted for this brutal cut we believe that Zac Goldsmiths' position as patron is no longer tenableZac Goldsmith
In a statement, the charity said: "Richmond AID recently wrote to Zac Goldsmith with regard to his recent decision to vote for cuts to ESA and can confirm he has now stepped down as a patron."
Lucy Byrne, the charity's chief executive, added: "We are shocked and disappointed to find that both our local MPs here in the borough of Richmond voted for this cut, one of whom is patron of our organisation.
"Having voted for this brutal cut we believe that Zac Goldsmiths' position as patron is no longer tenable."
The cut reduces sick and disabled people's ESA payments from £102.15 to £73.10 a week from April 2017 - equal to jobseeker's allowance - if they are deemed fit for “work-related activity”.
Goldsmith isn’t the only Tory victim of the backlash. North West Hampshire MP Kit Malthouse, has been ousted as patron of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, which said his actions in voting for cuts "prevented him from being an effective patron."
Malthouse and Goldsmith’s party this week pledged to go ahead with cuts to another disability benefit, Personal Independence Payment, in the chancellor’s budget statement.