The new minister for disabled people has refused to explain why she apparently failed to attend or organise any events – or even post a message of support on social media – on the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).While disabled campaigners and organisations and even government departments were demonstrating their support for the day, which promotes the “rights and wellbeing” of disabled people and their contribution to society, Newton failed to make a public statement on Sunday (3 December).Newton (pictured) also apparently failed to organise or attend any events on Sunday to mark the international day, which was recognised around the world.Her opposite number in parliament, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, Marsha de Cordova, posted both a picture of herself and fellow MP Kate Osamor holding a banner supporting the day, and a video message on Twitter.In the message, de Cordova said the government policies that led to the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities finding the UK guilty of “grave and systematic violations” of the UN disability convention were “a political choice”.She said: “It’s a political choice to build a social security system that makes life impossible for people with disabilities or a transport network that’s too often inaccessible.”She also called on the government to provide guarantees on the rights currently enforced by the European Union, and added: “We can’t allow the rights of disabled people to be sacrificed as ‘unnecessary red tape’ as we move towards Brexit.”Newton’s Twitter profile was silent on 3 December, as was her Facebook page, and she also failed to mention IDPD on 4 December.Her chief of staff declined to answer questions about her activities on 3 December, and referred those questions to DWP.A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokeswoman refused to explain why Newton failed to attend any IDPD events on 3 December, or to mention the occasion on social media.She said Newton had attended an event hosted by the BOND group of UK international development organisations three days earlier, on 30 November, which had been held to mark IDPD.During the event, the former minister for disabled people, Penny Mordaunt, now the international development secretary, announced that the government would be hosting a global disability summit next year, although the press release issued by Mordaunt’s department on 30 November made no mention of IDPD.When asked by Disability News Service if Newton had just forgotten about IDPD taking place on 3 December, the DWP spokeswoman declined to comment further.In contrast, many organisations marked IDPD by joining the #PurpleLightUp campaign organised by the disabled people’s networking and professional development social business Purple Space.Public bodies including Stockton Council, the National Assembly for Wales, the National Theatre, the University of South Wales, and the Health and Safety Executive (for which Newton is responsible) turned their buildings purple on Sunday to mark the day.The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) also turned its sites in Cheltenham, Bude and Scarborough purple.GCHQ’s disability champion and director general of technology said: “GCHQ is at the heart of the nation’s security and our mission is to keep the UK safe – we couldn’t do that without the fantastic contribution of our disabled colleagues.“We are celebrating their impact but equally recognise we still have more to do. “As the threat we face diversifies, so too must the workforce that tackles it. Very often it is our disabled community that leads the cutting-edge work we do.”Companies including Fujitsu, Barclays, KPMG and E.ON also marked IDPD and the Purple Light Up campaign, by hosting events, encouraging staff to wear purple, or – like ITV – turning their social media logo purple for the day.Newton took on the ministerial post last month, after Mordaunt’s promotion.The former junior Home Office minister has already faced criticism over her voting record on disability issues from disAbility Cornwall & Isles of Scilly (DCIS), a disabled people’s organisation that provides support for disabled people in her constituency.There has also been nothing posted about IDPD on the website of Newton’s Office for Disability Issues this week.But when DWP sent a message via Twitter highlighting IDPD, it was met with a barrage of criticism.One referenced the ongoing inquiry into disability benefit assessments, being carried out by the Commons work and pensions committee, pointing out that the investigation had “received about 3,000 submissions of evidence into the DWP’s poor treatment of disabled [people] whereas the normal number of submissions of evidence for a committee is around 100”.Another said: “How dare you have the audacity to tweet this. My fight for PIP because of a chronic neurological condition has caused me nothing but huge distress.“90 per cent of the time I can’t walk down the street let alone venture [onto] public transport but DWP can’t seem to grasp that. You’re the worst.”A third said: “A car crash of a tweet when you have impoverished thousands of disabled ppl. Where is your basic common decency?”Others were even more critical, accusing DWP of being responsible for the deaths of disabled benefit claimants.One added: “How DARE you celebrate #InternationalDisabilityDay when you make disabled ppls lives an absolute misery. Hang your heads in shame!”
SAINTS and Leeds meet in the sixth Challenge Cup semi-final between the sides since 2001 tonight.St Helens are appearing in their 35th Challenge Cup semi-final, having won 21 and lost 13 of their previous semi-finals.Leeds are appearing in a record 46th Challenge Cup semi-final on Friday. The Rhinos have won 24 and lost 21.Previous Challenge Cup Meetings:2014 (Round 5) Leeds 32 St Helens 122010 (Semi-Final) Leeds 32 St Helens 28 (at Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield)2009 (Round 4) Leeds 18 St Helens 222008 (Semi-Final) Leeds 16 St Helens 26 (at Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield)2004 (Round 5) St Helens 24 Leeds 142003 (Semi-Final) Leeds 33 St Helens 26 (after extra-time) (at McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield)2002 (Semi-Final) Leeds 16 St Helens 42 (at JJB Stadium, Wigan)2001 (Semi-Final) Leeds 22 St Helens 27 (at JJB Stadium, Wigan)2000 (Round 5) Leeds 26 St Helens 201999 (Round 5) Leeds 24 St Helens 161994 (Semi-Final) Leeds 20 St Helens 8 (at Central Park, Wigan)1992 (Round 2) Leeds 12 St Helens 321983 (Round 2) Leeds 13 St Helens 231978 (FINAL) Leeds 14 St Helens 12 (at Wembley Stadium)1977 (Semi-Final) Leeds 7 St Helens 2 (at Central Park, Wigan)1972 (FINAL) Leeds 13 St Helens 16 (at Wembley Stadium)1971 (Round 2) Leeds 4 St Helens 01930 (Round 2) Leeds 5 St Helens 181911 (Round 2) St Helens 6 Leeds 11Last 10 Meetings:Leeds 46, St Helens 18 (SLR20, 3/7/15)St Helens 16, Leeds 41 (SLR11, 17/4/15)Leeds 12, St Helens 13 (SLR25, 29/8/14)Leeds 32, St Helens 12 (CCR5, 26/4/14)St Helens 14, Leeds 10 (SLR7, 28/3/14)Leeds 11, St Helens 10 (SLPSF, 20/9/13)Leeds 22, St Helens 30 (SLR15, 20/5/13)St Helens 12, Leeds 20 (SLR5, 1/3/13)Leeds 18, St Helens 31 (SLR14, 21/5/12)St Helens 46, Leeds 6 (SLR8, 25/3/12)Challenge Cup Semi-Final Records – Team:Highest score: Wigan 71 Bradford Northern 10 (1992)Widest margin: Wigan 70 London Broncos 0 (2013)Most points by losing team: St Helens 28 Leeds Rhinos 32 (2010); Wigan Warriors 28 Leeds Rhinos 39 (2012)Highest scoring draw: Leeds 24 Hull Kingston Rovers 24 (1986) (Hull KR won replay 17-0)Scoreless draws: There have been five, with the last being Halifax v Hull FC in 1988 (This was also the last drawn semi-final of any score. Halifax won the replay 4-3)Highest attendance: 69,898 (Warrington v Leeds at Odsal Stadium, Bradford – 1950) Lowest attendance: 5,500 (Batley v Warrington at Fartown, Huddersfield – 1897)Career Milestones:Jordan Turner needs one try to reach a career century of touchdowns. His total of 99 has been scored as follows: 24 for Salford (2006-2009), 34 for Hull FC (2010-2012), 39 for St Helens (2013-2015) and 2 for England Knights (2012).Consecutive Appearances:Mose Masoe continues to have the longest run of consecutive appearances amongst Super League players, with 55.1 Mose Masoe (St Helens) 552 Elliott Whitehead (Catalans Dragons) 433 = Paul Aiton (Leeds Rhinos), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants) 39First Utility Super League Leading Scorers:Tries:1 Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors) 212 Tom Lineham (Hull FC) 193 = Justin Carney (Castleford Tigers), Denny Solomona (Castleford Tigers), Albert Kelly (Hull Kingston Rovers), Jordan Turner (St Helens) 157 = Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Kieran Dixon (Hull Kingston Rovers), Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers), Ken Sio (Hull Kingston Rovers), Kevin Brown (Widnes Vikings) 14Goals:1 = Scott Dureau (Catalans Dragons), Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) 763 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 744 Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors) 715 Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers) 706 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 687 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 498 Josh Griffin (Salford Red Devils) 469 Jack Owens (Widnes Vikings) 4110 Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves) 37Goals Percentage:1 Jamie Ellis (Huddersfield Giants) 92.85 (13/14)2 Luke Walsh (St Helens) 86.95 (20/23)3 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) 85.39 (76/89)4 Danny Tickle (Widnes Vikings) 84.61 (11/13)5 Tom Makinson (St Helens) 82.60 (19/23)6 Scott Dureau (Catalans Dragons) 81.72 (76/93)7 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 78.72 (74/94)8 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 75.55 (68/90)9 Stefan Marsh (Widnes Vikings) 75.00 (9/12)10 Josh Griffin (Salford Red Devils) 74.19 (46/62)Points:1 Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers) 1962 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 1773 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) 1664 Scott Dureau (Catalans Dragons) 1625 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 1586 Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors) 1577 = Josh Griffin (Salford Red Devils), Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 1169 Jack Owens (Widnes Vikings) 11410 Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves) 102Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Leading Scorers:Tries:1 = Ryan Brierley (Leigh Centurions), Kris Brining (York City Knights) 63 = Matty Fozard (Batley Bulldogs), Wayne Reittie (Batley Bulldogs), Steve Parry (Gloucestershire All Golds), Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers), Tommy Johnson (North Wales Crusaders), Rob Massam (North Wales Crusaders), Tom Makinson (St Helens), Adam Swift (St Helens), Chris Atkin (Swinton Lions), Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves), Kevin Penny (Warrington Wolves) 4Goals:1 Martyn Ridyard (Leigh Centurions) 212 Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers) 173 = Tommy Johnson (North Wales Crusaders), Ryan Shaw (Bradford Bulls), Cain Southernwood (Batley Bulldogs) 16Points:1 Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers) 502 Tommy Johnson (North Wales Crusaders) 483 Chris Atkin (Swinton Lions) 444 Martyn Ridyard (Leigh Centurions) 425 = Ryan Shaw (Bradford Bulls), Cain Southernwood (Batley Bulldogs) 40
Last week, ahead of the expected inclement weather, we decided to cover the pitch in advance of our fixture with Salford.This took place close to 10 days ahead of the game.Despite this, some areas of the surface have become frozen even though it has been covered.Groundstaff have been working hard to prepare the pitch but as we want to give our supporters as much notice as possible ahead of any changes, we will have an RFL referee at the stadium on Thursday at noon.They, in conjunction with ourselves and Salford, will then make a decision on whether the surface would be safe to play on this Friday.If the game is postponed, at present it would be rescheduled to be played on Sunday at 3pm.However, this would be dependent on another pitch inspection that would take place at 10am on Sunday.We thank the fans for their understanding and we will keep you updated.For participants of the GPW Recruitment St Helens 10K run an announcement will be made by the organising committee in the near future.