Welfare vote will 'haunt' Labour says SNP

  • 21 July 2015
  • From the sectionScotland
Hannah Bardell
Hannah Bardell said Labour's stance was "disgraceful"
The SNP has said Scottish Labour will pay a heavy price for not voting in greater numbers against planned welfare cuts by the UK government.
The prediction comes after plans to cut £12bn pounds from the welfare budget passed their first hurdle in the Commons on Monday night.
Forty-eight Labour's 232 MPs voted against the package.
SNP MP Hannah Bardell said Labour's position was a ''shambles'' which would "haunt" them at the Holyrood election.
The Commons backed the Welfare Reform and Work Bill by 308 to 124 votes.
The SNP voted firmly against the UK government's controversial proposals in the Welfare Reform Bill.
There were 48 Labour rebels but most, including Scotland's sole Labour MP Ian Murray, abstained on the orders of acting leader Harriet Harman.
Labour leadership hopeful Andy Burnham said his party made "a mess" of its approach and was "crying out for leadership".
He said he had agreed to abstain on the key vote because he was "not prepared to split the party".
Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray said Labour would bring dozens of amendments to the legislation during its continued parliamentary journey.
He also said that with Holyrood getting more powers over welfare next year, the SNP-led Scottish government should say how it intends to use them.
Ian Murray said Labour would challenge the bill in its later stages
Ian Murray said Labour would challenge the bill in its later stages
The Labour MP for Edinburgh South said: "What we need to be doing is working together to fight in committee on the parts of the bill that we disagree with. That is fundamentally about fairness and the impact on the sick and disabled.
Ms Bardell, the SNP's spokeswoman on fair work and employment, said: "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 and progress - just as they did when they so shamefully voted to support George Osborne's £30bn more austerity cuts."
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was "sadly not" surprised by the party's decision to abstain.
The SNP leader added: "Labour seem to have lost any sense of purpose or any sense of direction."
"It really does beg a fundamental question, if Labour is not about opposing a Tory government that is waging an ideological assault not on skivers who don't want to work, but on people who are working hard on low incomes, if Labour is not about opposing that, what is Labour for?
"Last night just proves that Labour has lost any sense of purpose and it will be the SNP who increasingly will form the real opposition in the House of Commons."

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