Can you guess how the Tories pushed their ESA cut past the Lords’ opposition?


Employment and Support Allowance for people in the Work-Related Activity Group of the sickness benefit Employment and Support Allowance is to be cut by £30 per week, after the Conservative Government invoked their favourite trick to dodge the democratic process.

After the punitive – and counter-productive – measure was kicked back to the Commons by disgusted members of the House of Lords, the Tories realised they don’t have a good argument for it.

So they pushed it through on grounds of “financial privilege” instead.

According to the website, “Financial privilege refers to the special right of the House of Commons to decide public taxes and public spending. It may be used by the Commons as grounds for overruling any House of Lords proposal that has cost implications.”

This is now the Conservative Government’s ‘go-to’ procedure for pushing through its most evil schemes – and believe This Writer, the plan to cut ESA is evil.

The benefit was intended to provide more money to the sick and disabled than to fit people who are unemployed because people with illnesses have to pay more money, simply to carry on existing; their costs are greater.

The Tory rationale for cutting it back to the level of JSA is to encourage claimants to go out and seek work – a misreading of the situation that can only be interpreted as intentional.


Be under no illusions – this change will kill people.

It will push people with illnesses and disabilities into poverty and debt, with no way out because employers do not want to take on people with extra needs, who may demand costly adaptations in the workplace.

And when the sick and disabled go into debt, seeing no way out, they do what most of us consider to be the unthinkable – as discussed previously.

It will be an expansion of the “chequebook euthanasia” that the Tories already practise at work capability assessments for ESA and PIP (and previously for DLA).

Some Lords have spoken out against the Government. Lord Low of Dalston accused the government whips of “working overtime last Wednesday night in the House of Commons, going round handing out bribes and blandishments like there was no tomorrow”.

And 11-time Paralympic gold-medallist Lady Tanni Grey-Thompson said: “As a Chamber appointed because of our expertise in areas such as this, we know and understand the impact this Bill will have, even if no formal impact assessment was carried out. I apologise to the people affected by this Bill that, at this point, we could not do any more. This may be the end of the legislative process, but it is the start of the negative impact the Bill will have on thousands of people’s lives.

“By this action, the Government have betrayed the trust of disabled people and they should not be surprised if they forfeit it for the rest of their time in office.”

MPs were asked if they wanted to overrule the Lords’ latest bid to block the change to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

They did, voting 309-274 to send the the cut back to the Lords for a third time.

Labour was whipped to oppose the cuts and the Tories were whipped in favour, which means the vast majority of MPs followed the party line.

All 309 pro-cuts votes came from the Tories. Not one MP from any other party supported ESA cuts.

At least one of the Tories turned up to vote wearing a full dinner suit.

Another 16 Tories including David Cameron abstained, and three rebelled to vote no.

From Labour, 204 MPs voted against the cuts and 26 abstained. None voted in favour.

The SNP voted 54 against with two abstentions, and the Lib Dems were 6 against with 2 abstentions – Norman Lamb and Nick Clegg.

The Northern Irish SDLP and DUP voted either against or not at all.

Ukip’s Douglas Carswell did not vote and the Greens’ Caroline Lucas voted against.

Source: How did my MP vote on cuts to ESA disability benefit? – Mirror Online

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


23 thoughts on “Can you guess how the Tories pushed their ESA cut past the Lords’ opposition?

  1. barrie

    there should be a full invetigation into the bribing of ppl.
    And if they want to save ££ try lowering there wages and alll other benifits they get for doing nothing but sleeping on th job (and they should get a big fine for doing that).
    Look at alll the mp’s and that that spend loads of ££ on party’s for them all to have fun and get drunk on tax payers money, all that has done that shouild get a fine and have to repay all they have robed off us all, or with more then 1 house that they rent out and still clame ££ for,

    These few tings can save tax payers millions of pounds

  2. Gary Burley

    action T4, all over again, kamp kommandant Iain Duncan smith and his ‘malingerers’ jibe, his ‘work sets you free’ snide. and his remark that the Auschwitz Kommandant was innocent of murder because he never actually applied the death sentence by his own hands. shows a clear love of punitive capital punishment on the poor and disabled by this Nazi serial killer, who through his ‘benefit cheats make my blood boil’ has become judge, jury and executioner for all those he is objectifying with his hate tirade. we know that there is only one reason for wanting to remove our human rights and our country from the eyes of Europeans, and i can only think it is something as deeply horrifying as the Nazis had in mind for the Jews, nobody would have any reason for doing that otherwise. and the death toll by now has to be over 100,000. there are 45 million of us that didn’t vote for them so that is 45 million of us awaiting their final solution

  3. mohandeer

    “From Labour, 204 MPs voted against the cuts and 26 abstained. None voted in favour.
    The SNP voted 54 against with two abstentions, and the Lib Dems were 6 against with 2 abstentions – Norman Lamb and Nick Clegg.
    The Northern Irish SDLP and DUP voted either against or not at all.”
    Ukip’s Douglas Carswell did not vote and the Greens’ Caroline Lucas voted against.
    So we have 26 Labour abstentions, many thanks to them since their vote against was critical and I really would like to know which of the so-called Labour MP’s abstained. We have a further 3 abstentions from Lib Dems and UKIP and the Irish contingent left the disabled in the lurch. I hope the next time the N.I bunch want bailing out, they prostrate themselves before a Saint before begging for help.
    Only 6 votes against from the abstainers would have saved lives among the disabled – may they rot in hell.

    1. John

      At this present time, I cannot think of a reason why you wouldn’t vote on something like this? Wonder who the Labour abstainers were, and why they didn’t vote? Wonder if there’ll be some emails/letters going to those MPs asking why?

    2. Terry Davies

      the 26 abstainers deserve deselection. they are red tories get them out of the party.
      cameron abstained so he cant be linked by legacy although in reality he is despised by the UK population.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        … or were they away from the chamber on other Parliamentary business, and paired with Tories?

  4. Barry Davies

    When all is said and done the commons has primacy over the lords, and they can completely ignore everything he lords say or do, and just push through the bill as originally written, in theory the queen can refuse to sign it, although the parliament act 1911 means that even this would just slow the process down, no monarch has refused assent since the 18th century.

  5. Jenny Hambidge

    I do not understand why there were abstensions from the Labour Party-Can we find out their reasoning? -or that of any of the other abstainers for that matter? I’m sure my friend with severe Crohn’s disease will be thrilled to know how little her life and health is valued as she struggles with the cost of her illness.

  6. Joan Edington

    How can you find out who all voted which way? I know I have seen lists on some debates before but don’t know how to find this on the parliament web site.

    I would like to know which Labour MPs abstained and which Tories voted against.

    I am also puzzled by the SNP numbers listed here. It says 54 voted against and 2 abstained. With the 2 current suspensions, the SNP only have 54 MPs. I would be very interested to know if the abstentions were the 2 suspended MPs or if I should be knowing about another 2 members voting as I wouldn’t have expected them.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Hansard gives lists of which MPs voted, and which way they voted.
      I’ve had difficulties with abstentions, as they aren’t listed.

      1. Joan Edington

        Yes, I’d eventually found that. I wish they listed which party the MPs are from as well.

  7. pierssy

    To me it seems the root of the extra payment has become lost in the sands of time. My memory may be a bit dodgy but . Once upon a time claimants for both unemployment support and incapacity benefit (or it’s previous incarnation) were bumped up to “long-term” after one year, I believe this was to reflect the increased cost of living after a year of living on social security, i.e. you could go without new shoes for a year but after that you might need them and so on. Long-term unemployment disappeared years ago and the extra money for sickness/disability was absorbed and re-defined in ESA no longer was it for the higher costs associated with long-term reliance on ‘benefits’ it was specifically to help with condition based needs. Does anyone else remember this or am I dreaming?

  8. Carol

    Yet again more despicable actions from this contemptible Government with a majority of the Tories voting for the £30 ESA cut…why was it so important for them to do make the sick and disabled lives even more unbearable???

  9. toocomplex4justice

    I would like to know if the queen has commented on this issue. She is still the monarch and is there to safeguard us from extremist politics. This is what we now have, the comparison of the conservatives to the Nazi party is not a jibe or heckle, it is a result of comparison to the unacceptable and criminal causation of death to the British people, the queens subjects.
    We said “NEVER AGAIN” after the Nazi defeat. The lords were our first line in defence against stupid or dangerous policies and potential despots but they have been castrated and their tongues torn out. Now it’s up to the queen to save the people who have allowed her to keep her status. Perhaps CaMoron held a gun to her head and told her to do as he tells her or lose her throne.
    If this ship of fools isn’t boarded and set on course it will run aground with all crew and passengers lost. The punitive and pointless policies have cost a fortune while pretending to be there to save money. Soon we will be bankrupt because the idea of underpinning our economy with high prices for homes and property is the only real attempt to secure the economy that the con party has made, but these prices will crash when everything else does.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      How many times do I have to explain that the Queen has NOTHING to do with the legislative process other than to give Royal Assent to Acts of Parliament.
      She has NO POWER to change ANYTHING and her opinion matters not a jot.
      Although recent news reports suggest the royals do have influence, this extends ONLY to their own interests.
      Please – look up the details on Wikipedia or somewhere and get a clue about this.

  10. Phil Lee

    Clear conspiracy to commit genocide.

    Ah, I suppose they are all “just following orders”.
    It didn’t wash last time, either – and your evil work certainly will not set you free!

  11. Jean Casale

    The problem seems to be that this vote was ‘whipped’, they don’t want to vote against the ‘party line’, so forget about morals and their constituents, it is all to do with ‘jobsworth’ – an official who upholds petty rules even at the expense of humanity or common sense.

Comments are closed.