Welfare bill vote: Westminster North MP abstains

Karen Buck abstained

Karen Buck abstained - Credit: Archant

Westminster North’s Labour MP abstained on the voting against the controversial welfare bill claiming the move was in opposition of government cuts.

Karen Buck MP did not vote on the Conservative Party’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill which passed through the House of Commons last night by 308 to 124 votes.

She and her colleagues were urged to abstain from voting by their interim leader Harriet Harman but 48 Labour MPs rebelled voting against the bill.

Ms Buck said: “I don’t accept this premise it’s not opposing the bill. There wasn’t just one vote, there were two. We put an amendment down to decline a second reading and set out all the arguments against it and that’s what I voted for.

There was a second vote and some of my colleagues chose to vote against it and most of us didn’t. We didn’t vote again.”

The bill will see housing benefit axed for all those under 21, tax credits capped at two children and the benefit cap reduced from £26,000 a year to £23,000

Queens Park and Church Street in Westminster are ranked amongst the most deprived in the country.

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The borough has one of the highest levels of child poverty in the capital.

Ms Buck added: “I’ve spent my entire life campaigning on this.

We’re going through line by line putting down opposition to all the things we don’t like in this bill. Where as all the things we don’t like is in the bill, it also includes a number that we do which includes the apprenticeship levy. We’re not going to oppose that. We don’t agree to cuts to tax credits and the child poverty targets.

“It’s absolutely not the case that our position last night was not opposition to the bill. It is.”

In what was widely seen as a Labour rebellion, 48 Labour MPs voted against the bill, as did the Liberal Democrats, the SNP. Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.

Of the leadership contenders only Jeremy Corbyn opposed the bill. Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper abstained.

Ms Buck said: “A minority of my colleagues wanted to vote a second time. There will always be some of my colleagues who take a different view on some of these issues and that’s fine, that’s always been the case, but it’s not where the majority of the Labour Party opinion is.”