Despite 48 rebel Labour MPs breaking the party line of abstention to vote against the Tory’s Welfare Bill, Scotland’s only Labour MP abstained.
Scotland’s only remaining Labour MP, Ian Murray, abstained from the Tory’s Welfare Bill on Monday – which will see £12bn of cuts to social security – despite nearly a quarter of all Labour MPs voting against it.
Out of the Labour leadership hopefuls, Jeremy Corbyn was the only candidate to unreservedly reject the Welfare Bill. Corbyn told the House of Commons that the passing of the Welfare Bill would plunge more people into poverty, and create gaping holes in our welfare state.
Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Liz Kendall all voted for Labour’s amendment to the Welfare Bill, which was defeated by 308 to 208 votes. The amendment supported slashing the household welfare cap and moving mortgage support from grants to loans, but opposed plans to abolish child poverty targets and alterations to Employment and Support Allowance. Although stressing that they regarded Harman’s amendment to the bill as a rejection, Cooper, Burnham and Kendall all abstained from the Welfare Bill vote.
High profile MPs such as David Lammy, Sadiq Khan and Diane Abbott also broke the party line and defied orders of the whip to vote down the bill. Had Labour’s MP all voted against the bill, it would have been defeated.
CommonSpace was waiting on a response from Ian Murray at the time of publication.
Labour’s incoherent stance on welfare expenditure was exacerbated further by the rejection of the Bill from the SNP, Green MP Caroline Lucas, the Liberal Democrats and the Democratic Unionists.
Hannah Bardell MP, SNP spokesperson for fair work and employment, was quoted in the Guardian saying: “The Tories’ cruel welfare cuts damage the working poor and vulnerable people, and had to be opposed.
“Labour had the perfect opportunity to join the SNP in a progressive coalition to oppose the Tories – but, with some honourable exceptions, they sat on their hands.
“This disgraceful stance will haunt Labour through next year’s Scottish Parliament election and far beyond. Labour have completely abandoned any pretence of being a party of social justice.”
Many people took to Twitter with their reactions to the vote.
— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) July 20, 2015
330,000 children will be hit by Tory Welfare bill and single mothers hit hardest. How do the abstainers feel this morning?
— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) July 21, 2015
Labour frontbench defends indefensible & accepts principle of arbitrary benefit cap – how much extra child poverty are they relaxed about?
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) July 20, 2015
So just to be clear – Tories had 308 for their welfare bill. If Labour had all voted against Govt it would have been defeated #welfarebill
— Tommy Sheppard MP (@TommySheppard) July 20, 2015
Picture coutesy of Ken Teegardin.