Labour attacked over Bedroom Tax vote no-show

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  By a Newsnet reporter

The Labour party has been accused of failing to back up its claims that it will do everything it can to scrap the bedroom tax after it emerged dozens of Labour MPs, including a quarter of Scottish Labour MPs, failed to turn up at a crucial House of Commons vote.

Yesterday in a debate in the House of Commons arranged by Labour, ten Scottish Labour MPs including the party’s Deputy Scottish leader Anas Sarwar failed to turn up for a vote which was eventually won by the coalition by a mere 26 votes.

Others who failed to turn up to vote against the controversial legislation include Gordon Brown, Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander.

Commenting yesterday, SNP spokesperson for Work and Pensions Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“We have had nothing but confusion, contradictions and a lack of commitment from Labour on the Bedroom Tax and today, their MPs failed to even turn up.

“It is ironic that Margaret Curran wrote to Alistair Carmichael seeking Lib Dem support on today’s vote- she should have copied in her own colleagues.

“Only with a Yes vote will we finally be able to get rid of the unjust bedroom tax and have a welfare state that reflects the views and votes of the people of Scotland.”

The absence of the Labour MPs was revealed by online site Wings over Scotland and is acutely embarrassing for Labour in Scotland.  The non-appearance of its Deputy leader Anas Sarwar follows a high profile appearance by the MP in a televised debate in which he challenged Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to commit to anti-bedroom tax legislation.

The Westminster debate, which called for the tax to be scrapped, had been organised by the Labour party itself and follows months of confusion over the party’s stance.  Ed Miliband finally announced on 20th September– six months after the tax was introduced – that Labour will scrap the Bedroom Tax if they win the 2015 General Election.

The debate took place two days before Citizens advice Scotland publish a report into the impact of the Bedroom tax on people in Scotland.

On Thursday 14 November, CAB will publish an evidence report on the impact the Bedroom Tax has had on people in Scotland in its first 6 months.

The report will be the latest in CAB’s ‘Voices from the Frontline’ series, detailing the impact of the UK Government’s welfare reforms.

It will use Scottish CAB evidence and official statistics to show the numbers of people hit by the Bedroom Tax, the types of people affected, and the impact it is having on them.