David Jones brushes off army veteran's plight as a political stunt
Tory Minister David Jones refused to apologise yesterday for accusing a disabled bedroom tax victim of “lying” in a face-to-face meeting about the cruel benefit cut.
The Wales Secretary brushed off army veteran Chris Caruana’s plight as a party-political stunt in a meeting at the Welsh Assembly on Wednesday.
Mr Jones shut down Mr Caruana’s appeal, asking if he was campaigning to end the cruel Tory policy because he is a member of the Labour Party.
“When I said I wasn’t a member, he said: ‘I think you are’,” Mr Caruana told the Star.
“I’ve never been a member of the Labour Party or any other party.
“I’m just a disabled ex-serviceman.”
Outraged Mr Caruana, who left the army after being shot in the chest, added: “I worked for nearly 30 years after I came out of the services.
“It was only when my chest injury caught up on me then I had to give up my work.
“Since then my health has gone downhill. To speak to someone like that is out of order.”
Mr Caruana’s call for a personal apology from the Tory minister was snubbed by Mr Jones — whose father was an army officer.
The Wales Office refused to make a comment when the Morning Star contacted it to ask whether Mr Jones would apologise.
Neither did the Clwyd West MP deny launching the extraordinary attack on the disabled man at the meeting during his visit to Cardiff Bay.
Labour Assembly Member Mick Antoniw had challenged him to meet tenants affected by the bedroom tax, who were watching a debate on the Queen’s Speech from the public gallery.
He told how Mr Caruana is robbed of £14 a week because he refuses to move out of his specially adapted home, which is close to his two daughters who help care for him.
The rattled Tory MP agreed to the meeting but cut it short — refusing to listen to tenants whose lives have been wrecked by the bedroom tax.
Mr Antoniw said Mr Jones had demanded to know how the war pensioner would solve Britain’s financial crisis before asking: “Are you a member of the Labour Party?”
“He said No. So David Jones asked: “Do you vote Labour?’ He basically accused him of lying. The guy was so offended he just walked out.”
Mr Caruana, who takes pills to help with stress, said: “I try and keep my stress levels under control but with him I couldn’t.
“If ever I wanted to become a political activist it’s now.”
Welsh bedroom tax campaigner Jamie Insole has been helping Mr Caruana appeal his cut.
He said: “Insulting and then refusing to apologise to this mild-mannered war veteran really takes the biscuit.”