A brief statement on tonight’s vote

Tonight I will vote for Labour’s amendment against the welfare changes the Tories are bringing in & then support Harriet in abstaining on second reading. I know many in Newcastle will be unhappy with this, but to be clear I am voting for a progressive Labour welfare agenda & against the Tories assaults on the entire welfare system.  I believe strongly in welfare reform, but the Tories are not reforming welfare, they are using children, the sick and disabled to pay for the deficit caused by the casino-like gambling of irresponsible bankers. I am not going to support the Tories in their divisive and ideological campaign to blame the poor.  Why then am I not voting against the Bill as a whole as some have asked me to?  Because I believe in welfare reform, because it brings in three million apprenticeships, cuts in council rents and support for troubled families, because I’ve already voted against the Budget and therefore against this Government’s regressive financial agenda for our country, and I will vote against each regressive measure as it comes to the House. But perhaps most importantly, because as a country and a Party we need to have the debate on what kind of welfare system we want, and what difficult choices that entails.  I expect that the next leader of the Labour Party will set out a uniquely Labour fair and positive Welfare and Work agenda which reverses  the demonization of welfare claimants, reduces welfare whilst helping people to make the right decisions, and supporting the vulnerable and those not able to support themselves.  This has been a very difficult decision to make but I believe it is the right one.

6 thoughts on “A brief statement on tonight’s vote

  1. Diane tait

    I am absolutely disgusted by your decision. I was reluctant to vote for the labour party as they are no longer a socialist party. However I did vote, not for them, but for you. You have let us all down by supporting the tory agenda and your explanation is totally inadequate.

  2. Hilary fawcett

    So disappointed. I have long admired your competence. Harriet Harmen has made a massive strategic mistake. I would have expected you to have the political judgement to see that. This is an instance when loyalty to those who vote for you should have taken precedence over your loyalty to ‘Harriet’

  3. Joe Haydon

    I see no real justification for your decision in abstaining. It seems you have only highlighted reasons – and good ones – why you should vote against.
    Your duty is to the country and to the people here in Newcastle who put you where you are. As you say yourself, those people want to hear your voice in harmony with theirs, not propping up the Tory agenda by staying silent.
    Labour is, allegedly, the party for the common people.
    Labour is the opposition.
    Do your job. Oppose.
    Be the voice of the people who gave you it.

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