Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Labour Malicious or Incompetent on the Budget Opposition vote?

Labour have failed to back the first vote by the opposition parties against the ConLib budget.

In the Debate last week ED Balls give the impression that Labour would be taking he lead on this

Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

Debate resumed (Order, 21 March).

On the Cut in the 50p Tax rate

Ed Balls: There will be a vote next week, and we will vote against the 50p change. It is the wrong tax cut at the wrong time. I have always said that no tax rate is set in stone, but how can anyone believe it is right to take tax credits from working families, child benefit from middle-income families and more tax from pensioners, but give £10,000, on average, to every top rate taxpayer in the country? If there were a general election tomorrow, our manifesto would state clearly that we would reverse it. That is the clearest answer I will give.
On the Granny Tax

Ed Balls: I will make it absolutely clear: we will vote against the change in the Budget debates and I hope that he will join us in the Lobby. We will vote against it, but the Chancellor knows very well that I will not go through every tax rate, relief, allowance or spending commitment and make commitments for three years’ time. But if the election were called tomorrow, our manifesto would be clear—we would rescind the measure and the Government would go ahead with it. That is the difference.

But when it came to the vote on a Plaid-SNP motion opposing the budget Measures Labour apart for two MPs were nowhere to be seen.

Those voting against the ConLib goverment's budget were...


Gregory Campbell - East Londonderry
Jeffrey Donaldson - Lagan Valley
Nigel Dodds - Belfast North
William McCrea - South Antrim
Ian Paisley, Jr. - North Antrim
Jim Shannon - Strangford
David Simpson - Upper Bann
Sammy Wilson - East Antrim
Mark Durkan - Foyle
Alasdair McDonnell - Belfast South
Margaret Ritchie -South Down
Indpemdent (N.I)
Sylvia Eileen Hermon, - North Down
Caroline Lucus – Brighton Pavilion
Stewart Hosie - Dundee East

Angus MacNeil - Na h-Eileanan an Iar
Angus Robertson -Moray
Eilidh Whiteford - Banff and Buchan
Michael Weir- Angus (Teller) 
Peter Wishart - Perth and North Perthshire (Teller)
Plaid Cymru

Jonathan Edwards - Carmarthen East and Dinefwr
Hywel Williams-Arfon
Paul Flynn - Newport West 
Dennis Skinner - Bolsover 

Some interesting fact   comes from them in the NO lobby

Apart from the 5 absentee Sinn Fein MPs and Plaids's Elfyn Llwyd (Who must have a reason to be absent) . Every single Opposition MP outside Labour voted against the budget.
Only two MPs's from English Constituencies   Dennis Skinner and  Caroline Lucus  voted No. The only true opposition to the Government coming from those Parties who so not fight English seats (Except the Greens) and one would suspect UKIP would vote with the government .

So why did Labour abstain

According  to an advisor to Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor,  Labour had made a "screw-up" by not voting with the rest of the opposition against the Con Lib plans to cut the top rate of tax for the highest earners.

I think that it was simply due to the fact that Labour expect to take the lead in all opposition votes and will not countenance supporting an amendment made by any other party . They at first hoped the vote will go unnoticed and and when it became clear tried the screw up excuse preferring to appear incompetent rather than malicious.

If the DUP and SDLP can walk through the same Lobby on this its pathetic that the so called official opposition . Why  couldn't Labour?

Ed Balls and his Whips must answer the Question

Where Labour MPs Advised/Ordered not to vote with the rest of the opposition Parties?
If not . Are Labour MPs so Lazy they can't vote without being informed by the Whips that a vote has been called?
What would their reaction had been if they had proposed the No vote and  Plaid and SNP MPs had enbloc failed to vote with them.?


  1. This might answer a few questions

  2. Peter Hain has said in the past that Labour don't vote for nationalist motions - its a long held policy to belittle and marginalise Plaid and the SNP, arrogance plays a large part in this.