In HER House of Commons maiden speech, Mhairi Black MP told of an unemployed man who had been benefit-sanctioned by his local job centre for being 15 minutes late to an interview.
She claimed this man had saved up the money he would normally use to reach the food bank in order to afford the bus fare to the job centre, that he therefore hadn’t eaten or drunk anything for five days, and that he consequently fainted on the bus on his way to the job centre.
It did not surprise me that Ms Black recounted this story, nor that she used it to bolster this man’s claim that job centre staff now terrify and trick people and call them liars. It did not surprise me that she used the story to attack Conservatives as “uncaring” and the Labour Party as useless.
What certainly has surprised me is the fact that (as far as I can tell) no journalist has bothered to investigate this story. Who was this man? How far away was the food bank? How far away was the job centre? And what had happened to the benefits money that should have been spent on food in the first place?
Mhairi Black’s maiden speech has now been viewed online more than ten million times. At a minimum, journalists are letting us down by failing to investigate Ms Black’s story – along with the conclusions and assertions that followed from it.