The Conservative Party has been humiliated in the first major Parliamentary vote since the summer recess – on a Private Member’s Bill to exempt disabled people from the Bedroom Tax.
Liberal Democrat Andrew George’s Bill proposed modest reforms, laid out by Vox Political in an article yesterday evening.
The debate lasted nearly four hours – and would have continued if a Tory filibuster had been successful. The Conservatives wanted to ‘talk out’ the Bill but their proposal was defeated by 304 votes to 237 – a majority of 67 votes.
This set the scene for an even greater defeat when MPs were asked on whether to approve the second reading of the bill. This time the Conservatives lost by a greater majority of 75 votes – the ‘ayes’ had it with 306 votes to 231 against.
Desperately, Jacob Rees-Mogg tried to refer the Bill to a select committee, rather than the normal committee stage. It failed by 28 votes.
An even more desperate attempt to refer the Bill to a Committee of the Whole House was rejected out of hand by Deputy Speaker Dawn Primarolo as out of order.
The Tories had also tried to derail the Bill at the start of the day’s business by moving a motion to hold the debate in private. This was defeated out of hand – only three MPs voted in favour of it – but it wasted a good 15 minutes of debating time.
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Rachel Reeves tweeted: “Labour will now seek to amend the bill to scrap the Bedroom Tax completely. But an important victory… for all those paying it today.”
So the writing is on the wall for the Conservative Party. Shipley MP and imbecile Philip Davies asked if this meant the Coalition had come to an end. Let us hope so.
In that case, this will be the first of many defeats, leading up to a rout at the 2015 General Election.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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