Tuesday, 21 July 2015

UPDATE Brent Labour MPs 2-1 against Welfare Reform Bill

Dawn Butler (Brent Central) and Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead & Kilburn) defied the Labour whip last night and joined 46 other Labour MPs in voting against the Welfare Reform Bill. Liberal Democrat MPs also voted against.

Tulip Siddiq had signalled her intention in a Channel 4 News interview earlier that evening.  Renowned local Tweeter Pukkah Punjabi revised her Storify posting in  the light of Siddiq's stance. LINK

As far as I know ultra loyalist Barry Gardiner (Brent North) obeyed the whip. Gardiner's one attempt at rebellion was against Gordon Brown and unfortunately was ill-timed - just a few days before Big G 'Saved the World' during the economic crisis.

UPDATE Barry Gardiner has told the KILBURN TIMES that Tulip Siddiq and Dawn Butler fell into a Government trap by voting against the Bill:
He explained: “Either we voted for the bill because we supported those of our policies that they’d incorporated into it but in so doing we voted for unacceptable changes to the benefits system such as three million families that are going to lose £1000 or impact on carers from the benefit cap. Or we voted against those regressive policies in the bill but in so doing voted against our own on apprenticeships.

“It was meant to trap us. It was a false choice designed to force us into either opposing our own policies or supporting the evil policies they were putting forward. I’ve always considered that if you’re asked to choose two unacceptable positions the sensible position is to refuse both. That is why I abstained."

The revolt perhaps gives some indication of the core support Jeremy Corbyn may command in the Parliamentary Labour Party. Labour Mayoral candidates Diane Abbot, Sadiq Khan and David Lammy also voted against the Bill.

Ahead of the vote Green MP, Caroline Lucas, said: 

“The Tories are attempting to dismantle our welfare state, and cut back on support given to those who need it the most.

“The bill will slash support for people with ill health including many with mental health problems – new claimants of Employment Support Allowance in the Work Related Activity Group, will see payments cut by almost £30 a week. This is very harmful for people with long-term fluctuating mental ill-health.  It will lock in child poverty for those born into larger families and it will leave Ministers significantly less accountable for their policies by scrapping the current legally binding child poverty targets.  

“It’s also deeply concerning that the bill includes a clause which would allow the Government to further lower the cap on benefits without properly consulting Parliament - thus potentially plunging more children into poverty without MPs even having a debate on the issue.

“It's now down to MPs from all parties to look beyond the politics of today’s debate and focus instead on the devastating impact that this piece of legislation will have on people up and down the country. 
"Our crumbling social security system is on the brink – now is the time to take a stand.

“George Osborne is playing politics with poverty. Failing to stand up to this regressive Welfare Bill would be an utter betrayal of the principle which says that those in need deserve support.  I’ll be joining many MPs from across the parties in voting against the Government’s Bill and making a stand for our welfare state.”
Lucas has spoken of the need for a 'Progressive Alliance' to challenge neoliberalism and austerity and yesterday's vote  gives some indication of the potential extent of that alliance in Parliament. 

Before the vote Owen Jones released a video making the case for voting against the Bill.


Anonymous said...

Glad to see PP hasn't lost her bite ( her final comment). Thought she might be going soft for a moment.
Well done anyway (even if they do have to live with displeasing Liz bloody Kendall on their consciences).

Mike Hine

Anonymous said...

Vote for Owen Jones! Keep such good hearts and compassion in politics and healthy the debates alive!

Anonymous said...

There's a great slogan in there somewhere.

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

Meanwhile, Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group's ESA casework workshop at Cara's Cosmic Café, 237 Kilburn High Road, NW6 heard today that a letter from an MP to the DWP regarding systematic harassment of customers/claimants has helped bring about the dismissal of the jobcentre manager concerned.
That may be something for claimants to smile about, but would any of Brent's MPs be so constituent-friendly?

We also heard that a major emerging issue is the impact of changes introduced in March 2015 of legislation targeting European Economic Area (EEA) migrants. That seems to be particularly addressed to window-dressing on the Housing Benefits element of the 'welfare budget'.

And I also take this opportunity to point out that Cara's Continental Café is a worthwhile venue to consider for small public meetings along the Kilburn High Road, while it does not stand out so well as to be properly noticed without the knowlege that its street number is 237 Kilburn High Road and there is scaffolding nearby.

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

An anonymous commenter -- not me -- has suggested on Camden New Journal website that maybe Tulip has changed her stance re Jeremy Corbyn.

Yet I also heard from a Labour insider on Saturday via anti-TTIP leafleting together in Kilburn High Rd last Saturday, that a former Labour Mayor of Camden is one of those purged from participating in this Labour leadership contestt.

Dude Swheatie of Kwug