The Liberal Democrat candidate for Croydon South has hit back at criticism over her impassioned post-declaration speech.
Anna Jones, a former Lib Dem councillor in Epsom, called on the next government to stop vilifying the disabled shortly after Chris Philp was returned as Croydon South’s MP.
Ms Jones refuted comments made by Mr Philp – who won the seat with a 11,704 majority – after he criticised the timing and content of her speech.
She said: “If Mr Philps is upset about me calling on the next government to be more compassionate to the disadvantaged in our society then that is his problem, not mine.
“I will always stand up for those who need it the most.”
Ms Jones, who has two disabled sisters, said she has witnessed the effects of changes to the benefit system under the last government.
“I’ve got the chance to see how they have been treated and it’s just appalling.
“If you are disabled in this country, you are treated like a criminal,” she added.
Mr Philp grimaced during Ms Jones’ speech and later said the speech was not a time to talk about party politics.
He said: “She was making very pointed party political points and we debated those points during the campaign.”
“A speech after a declaration is a time to be unified and to be gracious.”
Ms Jones was supported by Labour candidate Jennifer Brathwaite who said Ms Jones was simply stating the truth.
She said: “That’s the reality of the benefit changes that the government has made.
“It does vilify and definitely penalises those with disabilities and that’s the unfortunate reality of the situation.