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Lord Freud issues 'full and unreserved apology'

Lord Freud. Credit: PA Wire

Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud has issued a "full and unreserved apology" after suggesting that some disabled people are "not worth" the minimum wage.

The Conservative peer said he had been "foolish" in "accepting the premise" of a question posed to him during a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference last month.

I would like to offer a full and unreserved apology. I was foolish to accept the premise of the question. To be clear, all disabled people should be paid at least the minimum wage, without exception, and I accept that it is offensive to suggest anything else. I care passionately about disabled people. I am proud to have played a full part in a Government that is fully committed to helping disabled people overcome the many barriers they face in finding employment. I am profoundly sorry for any offence I have caused to any disabled people.

– Lord Freud

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Adam Smith Institute defends Freud's comments

Think tank The Adam Smith Institute has defended Lord Freud's comments regarding disabled workers.

Sam Bowman, research director, said the Conservative welfare minister had been "shamefully mistreated" by Labour leader Ed Miliband, who has called for Freud to resign after he suggested some disabled workers are "not worth" the full minimum wage.

Mr Bowman said: "His (Freud's) point was that the market value of some people’s wages is below the minimum wage. This is often true of the severely disabled and can have appalling consequences for their self-esteem and quality of life."

He added: "To point out that someone’s market value is less than minimum wage has nothing to do with their moral value as human beings.

"Freud’s point was that we should help people in this situation by allowing them to find jobs paying below the minimum wage and topping up their pay directly to make up the difference."

Lord Freud 'should be helping more disabled into work'

Lord Freud should be helping more disabled people into work not questioning their contribution, Richard Kramer, deputy chief of national disability charity Sense, has said.

Number 10: PM wants clarification from Lord Freud

Number 10 Downing Street. Credit: PA Wire

A senior No 10 source said the Prime Minister will want to hear the "full context" of comments made by Lord Freud in relation to disabled workers.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has called for the Tory welfare minister to resign after he suggested some disabled workers are "not worth" the full minimum wage at a Conservative Party Conference fringe event last month.

"I think it's fair to say that the Prime Minister will want to hear the full context of what happened and he will also want to hear what Lord Freud will say about it," the No 10 source said.

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Prime Minister visits once failing school in Portsmouth

David Cameron has arrived at a successful academy in Portsmouth that was once considered a failing school.

The visit, alongside Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, follows the announcement that tougher powers will be introduced to help turn around failing schools.

The Prime Minister speaking to students at Charter Academy in Portsmouth. Credit: ITV News/Libby Wiener

Call to abandon 'simple narrative' of failure in schools

If the Government are serious about improving education they need to "move away from this simple narrative of failure and success," a teaching union chief told Good Morning Britain.

Louis Coffiant, the CEO of NAHT Edge dismissed Conservative plans to send in a "crack team" to deal with 500 failing schools, saying, "Schools need support so they can start from where they are and they can help the students and the staff they have got."

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