I sat through two hours of this. She was giving the last evidence, along with a DWP civil servant, Hayes, to the Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into sanctions. After two hours the BBC Parliament channel left the session and I couldn't bring myself to go to it on the computer. I'd felt myself losing the will to live inside ten minutes.
A bit of the flavour of it is reported by the Guardian here. But they are trying to be too even-handed. It was dire. McVey waffled and fudged, didn't answer the question, cited surveys she then couldn't detail, and turned to Hayes whenever it got complicated. The Chair, Dame Anne Begg, was tougher than usual, but it was only when the other Labour members of the committee, Debbie Abrahams, Sheila Gilmore, Glenda Jackson and Teresa Pearce, were set loose that McVey showed the gulf between what she (and her boss and the DWP) would like to think is happening and what is actually happening.
One lie has clearly been nailed. The committee has heard about the way in which Work Programme providers are obliged to refer someone for sanction whenever there is a perceived infringement of the rules. This is going to be changed, by the way; they are to have discretion, which is what they want. But it needs primary legislation and a renegotiation of the contracts, so won't happen yet. But McVey was not reminded of the fact that she has lied about this in Parliament, insisting that sanctions are only used as a last resort. Another lie was repeated. McVey was adamant that there are no targets. This became a bit of a muddle, with Jackson and McVey both referring to the same letter from the PCS union; and in fairness McVey was right. But, at least while I was watching, we never got to the truth about targets in Jobcentres.
The Guardian and the Independent have been publishing the truth, with articles here, here and here, and the New Statesman has joined in. All these pieces give the picture which McVey determinedly denied today. Let's hope that the committee's report doesn't get too watered down by the Tories on it. They've heard the truth and should report it. But, as I've said before, it won't make a scrap of difference if the Tories get in in May.