Labour’s roll of shame on workfare

In a virtually-empty House of Commons, a handful of MPs stood up to oppose the cheap-work conservatives on the front bench, with a Labour Whip instructing party MPs to let the workfare bill pass, and cheat thousands of the poorest people in the UK out of the money the courts had ruled they were due.

The lonely Opposition in the House of Commons this afternoon:

Is it not the reality that this is a multi-billion pound failed flagship scheme, which was condemned by the Public Affairs Committee as extremely poor? Having lost a case and fearing that they will lose the appeal, the Government, instead of respecting our justice system, are abusing our emergency procedures to fix the consequences of losing? Does that show not a shocking disrespect both for our courts and for the principle that workers should be paid the minimum wage?

Read Seven Reasons Why You Should Stop Bitching About People On Benefits. Today’s debate – from Tory, LibDem, and Labour – was for the most part just bitching about people on benefits, who – sanctioned unlawfully of the money they were due – might be so impertinent as to want the money taken away from them unlawfully given back.

The Cycle of Workfare
The idea that a day’s work deserves a day’s pay has become an ideal for radicals.

The idea that Labour ought to be the party of the left, standing in opposition against cheap-work conservatives, has … just gone, for a clear majority of Labour MPs.

The Guardian’s estimate was that the payout due to claimants unlawfully sanctioned of their benefit would be on average between £530 and £570.

You could hardly have asked for a better trial run of helicopter money – a few hundred pounds to a few thousand of the very poorest households, people who so desperately need the money that they are likely to promptly spend it. Quantitative easing for the people, as Anatole Kaletsky has it:

One such radical measure is too controversial for any policymaker to mention publicly, although some have discussed it in private: Instead of giving newly created money to bond traders, central banks could distribute it directly to the public. Technically such cash handouts could be described as tax rebates or citizens’ dividends, and they would contribute to government deficits in national accounting. But these accounting deficits would not increase national debt burdens, since they would be financed by issuing new money, at zero cost to government or to future generations, instead of selling interest-bearing government bonds.

Giving away free money may sound too good to be true or wildly irresponsible, but it is exactly what the Fed and the BoE have been doing for bond traders and bankers since 2009. Directing QE to the general public would not only be much fairer but also more effective.

But instead, Liam Byrne and most of the UK Labour MPs opted for the shabby pleasure of knowing they wouldn’t look like the kind of nasty socialists who think employers should pay their workers: that they could let a bill pass which formally sets the government up as above the law, beyond justice. Retrospective legislation to make the DWP’s unlawful actions on workfare lawful, passed with the declared intention of preventing a few thousand of the poorest people in Britain have the equivalent of an MP’s lunch money.

Some MPs voted against only at the second reading (which began at 1.59 pm – the Committee began at 5.10pm), some more only at the third (6.43pm).

Roll of Honour: MPs who defied the Labour Whip to vote against the DWP’s appalling Bill

David Anderson, MP for Blaydon
Nick Brown, MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne East
Richard Burden, MP for Birmingham, Northfield
Katy Clark, MP for North Ayrshire and Arran
Michael Connarty, MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk
Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North
David Crausby, MP for Bolton North East
Ian Davidson, MP for Glasgow South West
Jim Dobbin, MP for Heywood and Middleton
Bill Esterson, MP for Sefton Central
Paul Flynn, MP for Newport West (second reading)
Mary Glindon, MP for North Tyneside
Roger Godsiff, MP for Birmingham, Hall Green (second reading)
Paul Goggins, MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East (second reading)
Fabian Hamilton, MP for Leeds North East Clp (third reading)
Dai Havard, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney
John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne (second reading)
Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall (second reading)
Kelvin Hopkins, MP for Luton North (second reading)
George Howarth, MP for Knowsley (second reading)
Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck
Mark Lazarowicz, MP for Edinburgh North and Leith
Fiona Mactaggart, MP for Slough
John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington
Jim McGovern, MP for Dundee West
Michael Meacher, MP for Oldham West and Royton
Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead
Austin Mitchell, MP for Great Grimsby
Madeleine Moon, MP for Bridgend
Grahame Morris, MP for Easington
Sandra Osborne, MP for Ayr Carrick & Cumnock
Teresa Pearce, MP for Erith and Thamesmead
Linda Riordan, MP for Halifax Clp
Steve Rotheram, MP for Liverpool, Walton
Jim Sheridan, MP for Paisley & Renfrewshire North
Dennis Skinner, MP for Bolsover
Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton (third reading)
Gerry Sutcliffe, MP for Bradford South Clp
Derek Twigg, MP for Halton (second reading)
Joan Walley, MP for Stoke-On-Trent North
David Winnick, MP for Walsall North
Mike Wood, MP for Batley and Spen Clp

So much for those who voted No to retrospective legislation on workfare. Duncan Hothersall at Nation Better attempts to defend the indefensible. Labour’s roll of shame follows.

MPs who abstained as instructed on the DWP’s retroactive legislation
MPs asterisked are on the payroll vote.

*Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth
Bob Ainsworth, MP for Coventry North East
*Douglas Alexander, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South
Heidi Alexander, MP for Lewisham East
*Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow
Graham Allen, MP for Nottingham North
Jonathan Ashworth, MP for Leicester South
*Ian Austin, MP for Dudley North
Adrian Bailey, MP for West Bromwich West
*Willie Bain, MP for Glasgow North East
*Ed Balls, MP for Morley and Outwood Clp
*Gordon Banks, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire
Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley
Hugh Bayley, MP for York Central
Margaret Beckett, MP for Derby South
Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South
*Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central Clp
Joe Benton, MP for Bootle
*Luciana Berger, MP for Liverpool, Wavertree
Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East
Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for City of Durham
Hazel Blears, MP for Salford and Eccles
Tom Blenkinsop, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland
Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central
David Blunkett, MP for Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough
Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter
*Kevin Brennan, MP for Cardiff West
Lyn Brown, MP for West Ham
*Russell Brown, MP for Dumfries and Galloway
Gordon Brown, MP for Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath
*Chris Bryant, MP for Rhondda
*Karen Buck, MP for Westminster North
*Andy Burnham, MP for Leigh
*Liam Byrne, MP for Birmingham, Hodge Hill

“it’s a principle we support and that’s why we won’t block the restoration of a general power that has always been in place.”
Liam Byrne is the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: so much for any hope that Labour will end workfare when they win in 2015.

Ronnie Campbell, MP for Blyth Valley
Alan Campbell, MP for Tynemouth
Martin Caton, MP for Gower
*Jenny Chapman, MP for Darlington
Tom Clarke, MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill
Ann Clwyd, MP for Cynon Valley
*Vernon Coaker, MP for Gedling
Ann Coffey, MP for Stockport
Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire
*Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford Clp
*Mary Creagh, MP for Wakefield Clp
*Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow

I abstained for a very good local reason. Don’t expect you to believe me of course but happy to explain…
The very obvious and very local reason for Stella Creasy to obey the Labour Party Whip is that if she refused the Whip and voted against workfare, she would have been obliged to resign as Shadow Minister for Crime Prevention.

*Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham
John Cryer, MP for Leyton and Wanstead
Tony Cunningham, MP for Workington
Jim Cunningham, MP for Coventry South
Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North
*Margaret Curran, MP for Glasgow East
Nicholas Dakin, MP for Scunthorpe
Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale
Alistair Darling, MP for Edinburgh South West
*Wayne David, MP for Caerphilly
*Huw Irranca Davies, MP for Ogmore
Geraint Davies, MP for Swansea West
*Gloria De Piero, MP for Ashfield
John Denham, MP for Southampton, Itchen
Frank Dobson, MP for Holborn and St Pancras
Thomas Docherty, MP for Dunfermline and West Fife.
Frank Doran, MP for Aberdeen North
Jim Dowd, MP for Lewisham West and Penge
*Gemma Doyle, MP for West Dunbartonshire
*Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham, Erdington
*Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East
*Maria Eagle, MP for Garston and Halewood
*Angela Eagle, MP for Wallasey
*Clive Efford, MP for Eltham
Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central
Louise Ellman, MP for Liverpool, Riverside
Natascha Engel, MP for North East Derbyshire
Christopher Evans, MP for Islwyn
Paul Farrelly, MP for Newcastle-Under-Lyme
Frank Field, MP for Birkenhead
*Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse
*Rob Flello, MP for Stoke-on-Trent South
*Caroline Flint,MP for Don Valley
*Yvonne Fovargue,MP for Makerfield
Hywel Francis, MP for Aberavon
Mike Gapes, MP for Ilford South
Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North
Sheila Gilmore, MP for Edinburgh East
Pat Glass, MP for North West Durham
*Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland
*Tom Greatrex, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West
*Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston
*Lilian Greenwood, MP for Nottingham South
*Nia Griffith, MP for Llanelli
*Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish
Peter Hain, MP for Neath
David Hamilton, MP for Midlothian
*David Hanson, MP for Delyn
*Harriet Harman, MP for Camberwell and Peckham
*Tom Harris, MP for Glasgow South
Mark Hendrick, MP for Preston
Stephen Hepburn, MP for Jarrow
David Heyes, MP for Ashton-Under-Lyne
Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch
Julie Hilling, MP for Bolton West
Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking
*Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West
Jim Hood, MP for Lanark and Hamilton East
Lindsay Hoyle, MP for Chorley
Tristam Hunt, MP for Stoke-On-Trent Central
Glenda Jackson, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn
Sian James, MP for Swansea East
*Cathy Jamieson, MP for Kilmarnock & Loudoun
*Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central
*Diana Johnson, MP for Kingston Upon Hull North
Alan Johnson, MP for Kingston Upon Hull West and Hessle
*Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham
*Helen Jones, MP for Warrington North
Graham Jones, MP for Hyndburn
Susan Elan Jones, MP for Clwyd South
Tessa Jowell, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood
Gerald Kaufman, MP for Manchester, Gorton
Barbara Keeley, MP for Worsley and Eccles South
*Elizabeth Kendall, MP for Leicester West
*Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting
David Lammy, MP for Tottenham
*Chris Leslie, MP for Nottingham East
*Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South
Tony Lloyd, MP for Manchester Central
*Ian Lucas, MP for Wrexham
Khalid Mahmood, MP for Birmingham, Perry Barr
*Shabana Mahmood, MP for Birmingham, Ladywood
Seema Malhotra, MP for Feltham and Heston
John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw
*Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South
Steve McCabe, MP for Birmingham, Selly Oak
Michael McCann, MP for Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow
*Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East
*Gregg McClymont, MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East
Siobhain McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden
Pat McFadden, MP for Wolverhampton South East
Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South
*Anne McGuire, MP for Stirling
Ann McKechin, MP for Glasgow North
Iain McKenzie, MP for Inverclyde
*Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne North
Alan Meale, MP for Mansfield
*Ed Miliband, MP for Doncaster North
David Miliband, MP for South Shields
Andrew Miller, MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston
Jessica Morden, MP for Newport East
Graeme Morrice, MP for Livingston
Meg Munn, MP for Sheffield, Heeley
*Jim Murphy, MP for East Renfrewshire.
Paul Murphy, MP for Torfaen
*Ian Murray, MP for Edinburgh South
*Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan
Pamela Nash, MP for Airdrie and Shotts
Fiona O’Donnell, MP for East Lothian
*Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne Central
Albert Owen, MP for Ynys Mon
*Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield
Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South
*Steve Pound, MP for Ealing North
Dawn Primarolo, MP for Bristol South
Yasmin Qureshi, MP for Bolton South East
Nick Raynsford, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich
*Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland
*Rachel Reeves, MP for Leeds West Clp
Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde
*Emma Reynolds, MP for Wolverhampton North East
John Robertson, MP for Glasgow North West
Geoffrey Robinson, MP for Coventry North West
Frank Roy, MP for Motherwell and Wishaw
Lindsay Roy, MP for Glenrothes
Chris Ruane, MP for Vale of Clwyd
Joan Ruddock, MP for Lewisham, Deptford
Anas Sarwar, MP for Glasgow Central
Andy Sawford, MP for Corby
*Alison Seabeck, MP for Plymouth, Moor View
Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing, Southall
Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield Clp
Jim Sheridan, MP for Paisley & Renfrewshire North
*Gavin Shuker, MP for Luton South
*Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith
Andrew Smith, MP for Oxford East
Nick Smith, MP for Blaenau Gwent
*Owen Smith, MP for Pontypridd
*Angela Smith, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge
*John Spellar, MP for Warley
Jack Straw, MP for Blackburn
Gisela Stuart, MP for Birmingham, Edgbaston
Gerry Sutcliffe, MP for Bradford South Clp
Mark Tami, MP for Alyn and Deeside
*Gareth Thomas, MP for Harrow West
*Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury
*Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham
*Jon Trickett, MP for Hemsworth Clp
Karl Turner, MP for Kingston Upon Hull East
Derek Twigg, MP for Halton
*Stephen Twigg, MP for Liverpool, West Derby
*Chuka Umunna, MP for Streatham
Keith Vaz, MP for Leicester East
Valerie Vaz, MP for Walsall South
Joan Walley, MP for Stoke-On-Trent North
*Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East
Dave Watts, MP for St Helens North
Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton, Test
*Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North
Phil Wilson, MP for Sedgefield
*Rosie Winterton, MP for Doncaster Central
Mike Wood, MP for Batley and Spen Clp
*Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for the City of Durham
John Woodcock, MP for Barrow and Furness
Shaun Woodward, MP for St Helens South and Whiston
*Iain Wright, MP for Hartlepool
David Wright, MP for Telford

It’s entirely possible that some of the non-asterisked people on this dreadful list would have voted against the retrospective bill for workfare if they’d been able to attend. If so, I’m happy to move them to a third list.


Filed under Benefits, Justice, Poverty

15 responses to “Labour’s roll of shame on workfare

  1. susan goodwill

    im absolutley disgusted!! if miliband did not support workfare then why would he whip and stop labour opposing? labour has lost my vote after voting labour for the last 30 years, what happened to labour being the working mans party?why do we now have 3 tory parties.

  2. Ed Furst

    The unions need to abandon Labour and adopt a party which does not wish to emulate the Old Tory, New Tory or Masturba-Tory parties. By default, that is currently the Green party, or a coalition of all Anti-Tories. When you have eliminated the impossibles whatever remains, however improbable, must be the starting point.

  3. Alan Harrison

    My MP seems both to have voted against and to have abstained! (Winnick, Walsall North, in both lists)

  4. jenny bondage

    Really excellent post and many thanks for it. The fact that this vote took place on tbe ann. of the Iraq war vote tells you all thats needed about the ongoing rancid Labour party…learn nothing, forget nothing. Scumbags.

  5. Those that voted against are in both lists – Dennis Skinner for one would be most upset

  6. craig

    I emailed Ann McKechin my MP to ask if she voted with the Government on this and she told me no, she voted against it!! She abstained 😦

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