Sarwar to face protest over Labour’s ‘Bedroom Tax Treachery’

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  By Lynn Malone
 
Anti-Bedroom tax protestors have announced plans to gather outside the office of Scottish Labour Deputy Leader Anas Sarwar tomorrow after the MP failed to turn up at a crucial vote calling for the scrapping of the controversial legislation.
 
Sarwar was one of ten Scottish Labour MPs who stayed away from the vote which had been called by their own party.  In total forty seven Labour MPs failed to appear.

Anti-Bedroom tax campaigners reacted furiously after it emerged the bid to scrap the legislation lost by a mere 26 votes.
 
The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) initiated the protest which will take place at Mr Sarwar’s office in 9 Scotland Street, Glasgow, from three o’clock onwards.

The SSP is appealing to those who oppose the Bedroom Tax to join the peaceful protest, “to express their disgust at his failure to attend the debate in Westminster on Tuesday and vote for the abolition of the tax” they said.

The protest has been instigated by Tommy Ball, an SSP candidate in the Glasgow Shettleston Council by-election and constituent of Mr Sarwar’s.

Mr Ball said: “Anas Sarwar recently made great play of how Labour would abolish the Bedroom Tax if they were elected in two year’s time.  But he couldn’t even bother to turn up at his extremely well-paid work on Tuesday to vote for the Motion to abolish this vicious attack on the poorest – even though the Motion was proposed by his own Labour party!

“Since then he has blocked all attempts by constituents – including myself – to contact him for an explanation of why he and 46 other Labour MPs boycotted such a critical vote, whether by phone calls, Twitter or Facebook.

The protest follows reports that a woman from Glasgow had been evicted from her home because of rent arrears that have been blamed on the Bedroom Tax.

Mr Ball said he felt they now had no other choice but to demand a “face-to-face explanation” from the Labour MP at his office.

He added: “And that is even more important after a woman was evicted today in Glasgow – where the Labour council has refused to declare a ban on evictions in the city they rule.”

Richie Venton, regional organiser of the SSP, and who is a prominent campaigner against the Bedroom Tax, said: “For a year Labour has done absolutely nothing to resist and defeat this obnoxious theft of incomes from the poorest, and in fact said they would retain it under a Labour government.

“Belatedly, in mid-September, Ed Miliband declared they would scrap it if elected in 2015.

“I immediately initiated an ePetition demanding Miliband act now, not some time after 2015, and the SSP warmly welcomed the subsequent Motion put by Labour on Tuesday.

“That makes it all the more shameful that 47 Labour MPs didn’t think it important enough to attend and vote for their own Motion – including ten out of 40 Scottish Labour MPs.”

A furious Mr Venton compared the behaviour of the absent Labour MP’s to that of the Lib Dems.

“We expect spineless treachery and obedience to their Tory masters from the LibDem MPs, who ignored their own party conference wishes and voted to keep the Bedroom Tax. 

“But if anything, the absence of the ‘Treacherous Ten’ from Scottish Labour was even more reprehensible, since they ‘represent’ the very people hammered by this vicious measure – as today’s Citizens Advice Scotland Report confirms, the poorest, chronically sick, disabled, low-paid workers, single parents” he said.

Mr Venton added: “Their treachery cannot pass in silence.”