"As I said on Monday, I never intended, and deeply regret, that the words I used on the radio about the need to prioritise Disability Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) for those with the most serious physical disabilities inadvertently caused any offence to those suffering from mental illness, which was NEVER intended.
“The Personal Independence Plans (PIPs) are designed to provide those with disabilities a more personal, flexible and specific fund to cover the costs of coping with living at home with their disability - for example the blind who need housing adaptations or those on home dialysis - than the old Disability Support Allowance. This Government is absolutely committed to making sure we get this PIP part of our £50billion per annum Disability budget to those with specific extra reimbursable costs of chronic disability. In explaining this focus of PIPs on last Sunday's radio 5 live talk show I was not in any way intending to suggest mental illness isn’t very 'real' or debilitating. It is. As I know from my own direct personal experience in my own family of the trauma caused by depression, anxiety and the often-connected alcoholism and, as MPs of all parties have paid tribute to, I have a track record through my work as a local MP and Minister helping those affected by disability, Dementia and childhood depression and anxiety.
“I would have liked to explain this to the small group of campaigners at my office today but am out and about my constituency on prior commitments but look forward to continuing to help any constituents with accessing the benefits they need."