Monday, 22 May 2017

UN expert says UK government 'most aggressive' in 11 missions

An under-fire UN inspector said she had never faced such an ‘aggressive’ reaction from a government, after a report she wrote was branded an ‘absolute disgrace’ by a senior Tory politician.

Former housing minister Grant Shapps has written to the UN, calling for an investigation into special rapporteur Raquel Rolnik for political bias.

She presented her preliminary findings yesterday after a two week trip around the UK, recommending the immediate suspension and review of the bedroom tax on human rights grounds.

‘It was the first time a government has been so aggressive,’ she said in an interview with Inside Housing.

‘When I was in the USA, I had a constructive conversation with them accepting some things and arguing with others. They did not react like this.’

Ms Rolnik has also carried out missions to the Maldives, Kazakhstan, Croatia, Algeria, Argentina, Rwanda, Israel/Palestine and Indonesia.

Rejecting allegations of bias she said: ‘I didn’t come here to investigate the bedroom tax, I came here as a normal country mission, to assess the situation.

‘I came across the bedroom tax when I was here, but I am an independent investigator.’

Mr Shapps also accused her of not being invited to the UK, and not meeting ministers during her visit, allegations she completely rejected.

‘This is absolutely not true,’ she said. ‘I have met officials from many departments, and the details of these meetings are all listed within my report.’

She said she had met senior members of the Department for Work and Pensions twice, as well as personal meetings with communities secretary Eric Pickles and under-secretary Don Foster.

She said the visit was organised by the UK government as part of its obligation under the UN Convention on Human Rights.

A media report today slammed her as a ‘loopy Brazillian leftie’ who had come to ‘lecture’ the UK.

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