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150330prolabourbedroomtax

Amazing though it may seem, people are still posting claims on the social media that Labour supported the Bedroom Tax. Labour has never done so.

The Bedroom Tax was one of the measures in the Welfare Reform Act 2012, that passed its third and final reading in the House of Commons on June 15, 2011 by a majority of 288 votes to 238 against. Labour MPs accounted for 224 of the 238 opposing votes. The Parliamentary Labour Party consisted of more than 250 MPs at the time, and the absences may be ascribed to participation in other business such as debates in Westminster Hall.

This has not stopped people from posting ‘disinfo-graphics’ such as the following, in attempts to besmirch Labour’s good name:

150330antilabourbedroomtaxThis one was on athousandflowers.net

At the Welfare Reform Bill’s third reading on June 15, 2011, Douglas Alexander, Gordon Brown, Brian Donohoe, Frank Doran, David Hamilton, Jimmy Hood, Ann McKechin, Jim Murphy, and Pamela Nash all voted against introducing Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments and against restricting housing benefit for those in social housing deemed to have excess bedrooms

Anas Sarwar was absent. He was speaking in a Westminster Hall debate on Caring Responsibilities and was therefore unable to attend. It seems unlikely that his absence would have affected the Coalition’s 50-vote majority, but in any case it is likely that he took advantage of the practice of ‘pairing’ – coupling up with a member of the Coalition who would also be taking part in other business – in order to ensure that his absence did not materially affect the result.

(thanks to www.theyworkforyou.com and www.publicwhip.org.uk for the information).

Before anyone starts writing in to point out that the article to which this is attached refers to a different debate, let’s straighten out that little misunderstanding: It was an Opposition Day debate which Labour had no chance of winning – Coalition members were whipped to vote against the motion and opposition parties can never win against a majority government in a whipped vote. The numbers of those who voted on either side indicate that – again – other business was taking place and MPs had ‘paired’ in order not to affect the result unfairly.

That’s how things work in Parliament, in order to ensure fairness and also allow the business of the Houses to take place in a timely manner.

So let’s kill these silly accusations off once and for all.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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