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Welfare bill: How MPs in Brent voted

PUBLISHED: 11:45 21 July 2015 | UPDATED: 20:38 21 July 2015

Dawn Butler, Barry Gardiner and Tulip Siddiq

Dawn Butler, Barry Gardiner and Tulip Siddiq

Archant

The three Labour MPs serving Brent have voted in opposite directions on the government’s controversial welfare bill.

Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central, Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North, and Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, were urged to abstain by Harriet Harman their interim party leader on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill in the House of Commons last night.

However, Ms Butler and Ms Siddiq defied Harriet Harman MP to vote against the controversial bill which will see housing benefit axed for anyone under 21, tax credits capped at two children and the benefit cap lowered from £26,000 to £23,000.

Mr Gardiner abstained during the vote for the bill which passed through the Commons by 308 to 124 votes,

Ms Harman had hoped to derail government plans by urging MPs to abstain their vote but 48 MPs defied her orders.

Ms Butler said: “I wanted to give the Tories a clear indication about how I feel what they’re trying to do my constituents – to young people, people in work, people with illnesses such as sickle cell and Multiple Sclerosis, it’s outrageous.

“What the others have said is that they are giving the government a chance to change the bill at committee stage and if they don’t change it, they’ll vote against a third reading.

“That’s a fair enough position for them to take but I’m just so angry about what this government is doing.”

Ms Siddiq said: “I don’t blame my colleagues for abstaining, and I understand their reasons for doing so, but I felt I had to vote against this bill.

“I came into Parliament to serve the interests of the people who put me there rather than to just do what my party would like me to do. It is not an easy thing to do, to defy the whip when you’ve only been an MP for two months, and it wasn’t something I took lightly. But for me it was an issue of conscience.

“It was really the issue of working tax credits, as well as the fact that the bill wants to abolish targets for child poverty. In my constituency, there are many children who live in poverty, and I could not just abstain on an issue that would make their situation even worse.”

However Mr Gardiner claimed his colleagues had ‘fallen into a trap’ set by the government.

He told the Times: “They put into their own legislation elements of our policies which they knew we could not vote against without embarrassment.”

To read Mr Gardiner’s full statement click here.


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