As there has been a great deal of comment and concern about Labour’s position on the votes on the Welfare Bill, I thought it would be helpful if I set out some of the facts around the votes and an explanation of why I voted as I did.
After pressure from Andy Burnham, myself and other Labour MPs, the Interim Leader of the Labour Party agreed to put forward an amendment which clearly stated that Labour ‘declines to give a Second Reading’ to the Bill. This amendment was voted on by the House of Commons and all Labour MPs supported it.
In other words, I and other Labour MPs voted against the Bill.
The Interim Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, decided that Labour should ‘abstain’ on the final vote, because there were some parts of the Bill which Labour supported. Although I was not convinced by this argument, to have voted against would have had huge consequences. The Government would have still secured a majority but Labour would have had an irreparable ‘split’ which may well have led to Labour being unable to win power for a generation. And, I am mindful of the fact that it is only by electing a Labour Government can we help the people we are both concerned about.
Before too long, Labour will have a new Leader, who, I hope, will provide clear leadership which the Party needs. That leadership is needed to ensure that we provide total and unequivocal opposition to the Welfare Bill when it is next considered in Parliament.
Wayne David, MP for Caerphilly