IDS and the saga of the loo

Hi everyone

I stumbled across this blog articlw when reading aout the Paralympics (pun intended). Even though the entry is dated a year ago it is absolutely worth revvisiting because its relevant, especially now.

TThere has been some discussion in the Stormagedden household over the validity of this story. I think it is very plausible that IDS, and based on my personal experiences innumerable others who appear able bodied, have no compunction about using disabled loos. I say pass on the link and let people decide for themselves.


Hi, what a brilliant story. I was gobsmacked at the behaviour of IDS!

Ive also waited outside many a disabled loo, while my seated position helps hold my desperate bladder a few minutes longer. The folk Ive met coming out of MY loo are builders, who urged me to Leave it 5 mintues love. And young women who`ve been trying clothes on, with their embarrassed smiles and feeble excuses.

I know we cant always spot someones disability, but these selfish, inconsiderate types really get my dander up.

Thanks for posting this thread.

luv Pollx

i recall reading this when someone posted the story on here.

words still fail me…

ellie x

Hi Poll and Ellie

Thanks for taking a look and replying.

I think we have to keep the struggles of the disabled at the forefront. Whetherthis is the basic struggles each of us face such as waiying for able bodied to get out of our disabled loos or the continued fight for funds which significantly improve the qualitu of lfie for the disabled.

IDS, I think he should be made to live as a disabled person for a day and see if he will be more respectfiul.


I try not to be judgmental as I have to use disabled loos on occasion and visually there is ‘nothing wrong’ with me.


I thought loos with radar key operation were for people with disabilities only and loos with wheelchair logo but not radar key were adapted for use by those with disabilities but not solely for their use.

I may have misunderstood the signage for these.



Yes, this is true, my friend Kali published it on her BoB blog last year after Sean McGovern was caught short by the odious IDS:

Friday, 19 August 2011



Disabled people query whether telling him to jump off a cliff would have the same level of obedience…

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has been caught using an accessible toilet, just minutes after telling a live television audience that parents must teach their children “right from wrong”.

Duncan Smith – responsible for a series of sweeping welfare reforms that will see savage cuts to spending on disability benefits – had been one of the guests in a live debate on the riots that had swept across England.

At the end of Saturday’s debate, hosted by Channel 4, the Conservative cabinet minister told the audience that the one thing the riots had shown him was the need for “communities where people take responsibility for their actions for bringing up their children, for teaching them right from wrong”.

Minutes later, the Work and Pensions Secretary – who is not disabled – was caught coming out of an accessible toilet on the ground floor of the building.

Sean McGovern, a wheelchair-user and chair of Lambeth Pan-Disability Forum, who had been in the front row of the audience and spoke during the debate, had been waiting in some discomfort to use the accessible toilet, and challenged Duncan Smith.

When McGovern reminded him of the words he had used in the debate, Duncan Smith replied that “someone told me I could use it”.

McGovern told Disability News Service: “He had been sitting there pontificating, telling us what we should be doing as a society, only then to walk away and flout the ‘rules and regulations’ because he can, because he is who he is.”

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokeswoman said: “He wouldn’t have been jumping the queue. He would have been using facilities he was directed to use by the event’s organisers.”

But she refused to say whether this response had come from Duncan Smith, or even whether she had contacted him to pass on the request for a comment.

Disabled activist Kaliya Franklin, co-founder of The Broken of Britain, who published McGovern’s account of the incident on her blog, said: “Recognising when the needs of others take priority over our own is a fundamental part of knowing right from wrong and taking responsibility for our own actions.

“As minister for DWP, IDS is expected to have a greater understanding and sensitivity to the needs of disabled people, especially as the many ‘reforms’ to disability benefits and services are predicated on a claim that accessible facilities are now readily available wherever needed.
“Given the minister’s commendable desire for everyone to be held responsible for their personal behaviour through community service, sick and disabled people will expect the punishment to fit ‘the crime’.

“Apologising and committing to inspecting the standard of accessible facilities, cleaning them himself where needed, would show strong leadership and set an example to the rest of the country that ministers are not exempt from the standards they themselves set for others and demonstrate that we really are ‘all in it together’.”

Channel 4 has so far failed to comment.

There are no laws to prevent anyone from using an accessible toilet - it would be impossible to police - many people have ‘invisible’ disabilities. I think the use of accessible loos comes down to good manners (which IDS clearly doesn’t have), if people don’t have a disability they should queue for the other loos.

Anyone can purchase a radar key - - although again, they are ostensibly for people with disabilities

Hi Anu

I love your friend’s blog! Thanks for commenting.


She has more than one -

she’s also got some of her stuff on You Tube (Kaliya Franklin) and occasionally blogs for The Guardian and Independent.

I have taken abuse for using disables toilets, yes I can walk but unfortunately ms has affected my bladder and bowel control. I shouldn’t have to explain this to people! Chis

I think that a lot of this is a politically motivated rant against Iain Duncan Smith initiated by Mr McGovern.

The fact that Iain Duncan Smith said “someone told me I could use it” shows that he has the presence of mind to ask whether it was permissible to use the “accessible” toilets.

At the time, Iain Duncan Smith was 57 years old, and it may well be that he has a prostate problem (diagnosed or not) which may mean that he has a need to visit the toilet urgently. In addition, as he was a visitor to the building, he may well not have been aware of the location of the other toilets, hence his request as to whether it was OK to use the accessible one.

Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with able bodied people using accessible toilets, provided:-

(a) There are no other toilets nearby which are free

(b) There is no disabled person waiting to use the toilet

(c) They do not anticipate needing to use the toilet for a long period of time

(d) The need to use the toilet is sufficiently urgent that they cannot wait until the non accessible toilet is free.

There is a branch of Caffe Nero in the centre of Birmingham with one toilet which is accessible to people in wheelchairs and one which is not. Once, when I was out in the city centre I was really desperate to use the loo and popped inside only to find the non accessible toilet occupied. I went round the corner and used the accessible one instead. For the record, although I have PPMS and a few mobility issues (muscle weakness and dropped foot) I am “able bodied” in the sense that I do not need a stick or a wheelchair. (yet) Was I really supposed to have an “accident” just on the off chance that someone else with a disability may need to use the toilet.

If a disabled person arrives at an accessible toilet and finds it occupied, a knock on the door should alert the person inside that someone else wishes to use the facilities, and that the person inside should be as quick as is reasonably possible, given whatever disability they may have.

I cannot help but think that none of this incident would have made the light of day had it not been Iain Duncan Smith (or any other Conservative politician) that came out of the toilet.

i dont use a stick (or only rarely) i am not a wheelchair user but my bladder often takes me by surprise.

its scary how little time i have to get to a loo!

my local wetherspoons has a disabled toilet downstairs but the rest of the toilets are up a lot of stairs.

once when i wanted to use the disabled toilet i was given quite a bit of abuse by two older men who told me that as an able bodied person i should go upstairs because the disabled loo was for people with disabilities like them.

i didnt argue because i know a lot of people who go in that pub and didnt want a discussion about my continence problems in such a public place. i did wonder what their disabilities were though!

anyway i made it up the stairs (just) but its coming back down the stairs that is a bit dodgy for me and my lack of balance.

the whole episode made me want to start taking my walking stick out with me as a visible signal of my disablity. i didnt though because i’m too stubborn.

if it happens again i will show them the card that i got from the ms society.

carole x

(not at all IDS)

You don’t seem to get the irony of IDS; the protagonist taking away benefits from disabled people and in some instances causing death but mostly a lot of stress using facilities primarily for disabled people and leaving a dirty toilet at the end of it.

It’s nothing to do if he has prostrate problems or if health people are allowed to use toilets without Radar keys; completely beside the point.

You nasty party supporters will not realise their whole philosophy is in this one incident; ‘don’t do as I do; do as I say.’


It possibly wouldn’t have seen the light of day had IDS and his odious Bullingdon mates not launched a wholesale attack on people with disabilities through their not fit for purpose welfare reform bill (also queried by senior civil servant Sir Jeremy Heywood this week) which disproportionally and negatively impacts on people with disabilities.

Using accessible toilets? He can p*ss off…


First, thank you George and Anu.

Some things to consider, from a wheelchair user. A disabled toilet is not for everyone so ostensibly there should not be a queue thus making things a bit easier for disabled people who use wheelchairs, who have to self cath, who actually do have mobility problems.

Please consider tht a disabled lavatory must be used by a person using a wheelchair because a normal loo IS NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE and very often presents many challenges such as:

  1. the entrance to where the loos are located are very often narrow

2.the entrance to a normal sized loo opening is very often narrow and provides nil room for maneuvering

  1. normal loos do not have provisions such as lowered seats/sinks/soap dispensers/ect, grab rails, emergency pull cords

If someone is using one or two sticks they may need more space which a disabled loo provides, and hand rails.

If someone needs to self cath they may very well need the privacy and space a disabled loo provides.

So some things to consider if you are using a disabled loo and you mobility is not compromised, you are able bodied or if you are able to use a normal toilet.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, which they have expressed on this thread, so this is mine. If someone is able to use a normal toilet regardless of a medical label whether MS or not then they are taking away a fit for purpose disabled toilet for some person who really needs it.


In an office I used to work in there were “accessible” and “normal” toilets.

Outside the accessible toilets there was a notice saying “Please use this toilet with consideration for your colleagues with disabilities”.

In other words, it was permissible for an able bodied person to use them, but only if the “normal” ones were all occupied, and you were not able to wait until one was free.

There are some people with MS who although able bodied (in the sense that they can walk and do not need a stick) have urgency issues because their MS does not give them much warning of the need to use the loo. In these circumstances I think that it is entirely acceptable for them to use an accessible toilet if that is the nearest one.

They would only be denying the use of that toilet to someone in a wheelchair if it happened that a person in a wheelchair wanted to use it in the few minutes that it was occupied.

Where I worked in the customs hall Terminal One Heathrow where you collect your bags from the carousel; there was only one disabled toilet; loads more in the Terminal.

I went to go there one day and it was locked so obviously being used; so I patiently waited. Ten minutes later still waiting; I knew someone was in there with all the grunts and groans.

Suddenly the door opened and a girl hurried away. Went to go in and some bloke tried to exit the same toilet. I was taken back but politely said “What the F**k you doing” obviously they were having sex; judging by there age; state of dress and redness of the skin?

Also I don’t know if anyone went to the old Wembley Arena where there was a line of disabled toilets. You would be lucky to get one as they were invariable taken up by someone smoking pot or having a line of coke.

I would not deny there are many illnesses that anyone should be able to use a disabled toilet but just like disabled parking bays if a person looks well they should be politely challenged.

IDS is just a hypocrite and this is what the article is doing.

Please consider this point which I would have thought was obvious since many who have posted use disabled toilets.

Wheelchair users are very rarely, if at all, able to use a normal lavatory because the chair won’t actually fit in a non disabled toilet stall. Never mind the chair and if the wheelchair user needs the assistance of a carer.

A person who is not in a wheelchair can physically get in to use the disabled facilities unfortunately or the non disabled toilets.

If a person with disabilities such as I have chosen to highlight needs a disabled toilet and one is not available they do not have the option of simply using a normal, and more often busier, smaller built, non adapted, non disabled toilet.

This is especially true of people who use wheelchairs.


and he strikes again:

Iain Duncan Smith Fudges On Women’s Refuge Closures

by johnny void

It appears that a partial climb down on the upcoming Housing Benefit changes set to decimate the Women’s Refuge network and other supported housing services is being considered.

Iain Duncan Smith is wobbling so fast on welfare reforms that it’s becoming near impossible to keep up. Even whilst I was writing this piece passing on the warning from Women’s Aid about refuge closures, IDS and Lord Fraud were already spinning out of control in front of a Parliamentary Committee. Whilst there has been no formal announcement from the DWP, it seems that some changes may be made to the proposed changes to Housing Benefits.

For many years vital services such as women’s refuges or homeless hostels have depended on high Housing Benefit payments to cover staff costs. Next year the housing benefit caps, already introduced for private tenants, will be extended to all forms of housing. Another benefit cap, £500 a week, is to be introduced for families, no matter how many children they have or what form of housing they live in.

These brutal cuts will destroy the refuge network for people fleeing domestic violence where rents can be as high as £600 a week for the most basic accommodation.

IDS and Lord Fraud were questioned about the problem at this week’s meeting of the Select Committee for Work and Pensions, the parliamentary group responsible for scrutinising the switch to the new Universal Credit benefits regime. Apparently they are ‘looking into it’. Lord Fraud suggested that supported housing may be taken out of Universal Credit altogether with payments made direct to hostels and refuges. This seemed a shock to Iain Duncan Smith who said that the Discretionary Housing Fund may make up the shortfalls in rent. It seems that the two posh boys are for turning, just unfortunately not in the same direction.

One thing they both seemed to agree on was a move towards to localised system of funding for supported housing. With Housing Benefit about to be taken out of local council’s control it appears the DWP intend to reform it, and then reform it back again just for shits and giggles. Whatever happens will almost certainly mean cuts.

There appears to be no change to one of the main areas of concern for those fleeing domestic violence or those who provide support for them. Despite the Government today acknowledging that financial coercion can be considered a form of domestic abuse, plans to make all benefit payments to a single family member will go ahead.

There are wobbles on direct payments which mean that housing payments will no longer be sent straight to social landlords but instead land in the bank account of even the most vulnerable tenants. Once again however there is no real details, merely some mumbles that some people may be taken out of this regime. How these people will be identified by the faceless computer based system which underpins the new ‘digital by default’ benefit system has not been explained.

It’s clear that Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Fraud are making it up as they go along. If they weren’t being paid billions of our money you might almost feel sorry for the poor bastards designing the new labyrinthine computer system which Universal Credit will depend on. Almost everyday Iain Duncan Smith moves the goal posts or adds new layers of complexity to the project which is already running behind schedule and over budget.

What is truly terrifying is that these problems are only just occurring to to the out of touch millionaires at the DWP. Almost any housing or social worker could have warned them about the problems which will face refuges and homeless hostels when Universal Credit goes ahead. Iain Duncan Smith has spent years plotting welfare reform yet even now he doesn’t seem to have any understanding of how the system he’s reforming actually works.

The latest fudge suggests that there might be three rates of the Housing Element of Universal Credit. This will mean one rate for mainstream housing, one for temporary accommodation, which Lord Fraud suggested might be £40 a week more, and one for supported housing such as hostels and refuges. This will be further confused by the fact that not all claimants will be subject to the benefit cap, although the vast majority will, whilst housing support rates will be different depending on how old the claimant is.

Meanwhile Housing Benefit is to be taken out of local authority control, except when it isn’t and rent payments will always be made direct to claimants themselves, except when they won’t. This is Iain Duncan Smith’s idea of simplifying welfare.

The hapless Work and Pension Secretary has made much of the terrible complexity of the benefits system as if it were some kind of socialist plot designed to confuse him. As his hare-brained welfare reforms grow ever closer he is starting to understand exactly why that complexity developed.

With no clear proposals in place the axe still hangs heavy over every women’s refuge, homeless hostel or other supported housing project in the UK. At very best a new funding regime might be introduced, which will almost certainly mean cuts. The Discretionary Housing Fund, which was intended to cover the shortfall already being experienced in Housing Benefit payments, is nowhere near enough to accommodate paying for hostel rents as well. And George Osborne doesn’t look like he’s sending the DWP more money any time soon.

Universal Credit is fast collapsing into a tragic farce. Yet Iain Duncan Smith will carry on regardless whilst Lord Fraud seems to think it’s all some big game. Yet they are playing with the very survival of those who depend on the scant social protection provided to those who’s lives have run into the most horrific difficulties. Abused children, victims of domestic violence and homeless families will be the first in line to suffer at the hands of Iain Duncan Smith’s bodged experiment at the DWP.