MP resists party line on welfare bill

MP Paula Sherriff
MP Paula Sherriff

Dewsbury’s Paula Sherriff was among a minority of Labour MPs to vote against her party’s advice on a Government welfare bill.

Labour’s acting leader, Harriet Harman, recommended her party abstain from the Conservative Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill this week, which included plans to limit child tax credit to two children.

MP Jo Cox

MP Jo Cox

Miss Sherriff said: “Voting against the wishes of my own party was not something I envisaged myself doing when I was elected as MP for Dewsbury 11 weeks ago.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision and not one that was taken lightly. The Dewsbury constituency has pockets of high levels of deprivation and child poverty, and ultimately I had to make the choice to stand up for the people I was elected to represent.

“To abstain would have been letting many of my constituents down.”

Meanwhile Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox (Lab) abstained from the vote but supported a Labour amendment.

She said: “I will not support any measures that would plunge more children into poverty. The Tories’ Welfare Reform and Work Bill would do that so I cannot support it. Labour’s amendment opposed the bill and I supported that amendment.

“In my view most of this bill is terrible news for sick or disabled people and families on low and middle incomes. There are, however, a minority of good elements to it, including measures to increase the number of apprenticeships and support for troubled families. I support these measures in principle, though they don’t go far enough.”

Parliament backed the bill by 308 votes to 124.