The Labour Party has ripped itself in two
MPs in the House of Commons have voted in £12bn of welfare cuts, after many Labour MPs abstained from the vote.
Acting leader Harriet Harman had ordered the party to abstain from the vote, however, nearly 50 Labour MPs chose to rebel and voted against the bill.
Twitter was in uproar over the vote, which saw the Welfare Reform and Work Bill pass with 308 to 124, as Labour was heavily criticised for its lack of opposition. In fact, one SNP MP joked that the furniture in the House of Commons should be rearranged.
Only one of the leadership candidates, Jeremy Corbyn, voted against the bill, while Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall abstained from the vote.
The mess was criticised from within Labour’s ranks too.
Just voted against Tory Welfare Bill. Sorry for colleagues who knew it was wrong but abstained. We weren’t sent to Parliament to abstain.
— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) July 20, 2015
The split in the party was criticised from the government benches, with Tory MPs saying Labour was having a leadership crisis without a leader.
Meanwhile, Labour defended the vote, claiming there were some very important measures in the bill.
What was the vote on?
Some of the measures outlined in the bill include:
- Removing child poverty targets and replacing them with targets on educational attainment and jobs in the household
- Reducing the welfare cap (the maximum one household can receive) from £26,000 to £23,000
- Ending housing benefit for under 21s
- A two-child policy on child tax credit so families are only able to claim on the first two for child tax credits
- Cuts on Employment Support Allowance for people with disabilities