By a Newsnet reporter  
Labour have found themselves in a shambles following a vote on workers’ rights which saw a number of backbenchers rebel against the party, and a fierce backlash from supporters on social media.
The party abstained on a vote which allowed the UK Government to speed a hastily drafted retroactive law through parliament that will overturn the outcome of a court of appeal judgement and ensure the government no longer has to pay benefit rebates to about a quarter of a million jobseekers.

The vote in the Commons came after last month’s Court of Appeal ruling against the UK government’s controversial welfare-to-work scheme, under which more than 230,000 jobseekers had been forced into work placements without pay and with little information about what was happening and why.
The estimated pay-out due to claimants wrongly sanctioned by the illegal workfare scheme is £130 million.
The move to strip illegally penalised claimants of their legal rights was defended by Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne, who said that Labour would not oppose the bill, but added that “ministers must launch an independent review of the sanctions regime with an urgent report to parliament”.
The campaign group Boycott Workfare reacted angrily to the news that the Labour party would not oppose the Conservative measure. 

A spokesperson for the group said:
“It is just as disgusting to hear Liam Byrne say that the social security people are due must be withheld or the entire welfare budget be cut. Everyone knows abstaining is as good as voting for the bill.”
Green MP Caroline Lucas, who voted along with the SNP, Plaid Cymru and a number of Labour rebels against the bill, said:
“By failing to vote against this Bill, Labour is effectively supporting the Government and indicating that it, like David Cameron’s administration, sees no problem in bringing in emergency legislation to overturn a court’s findings when it goes against them.
“In a fair society, the solution to unemployment is not to force people into workfare programmes which do little more than supply big companies with free labour. It’s to create jobs that pay a living wage, for example, by investing in new sustainable infrastructure projects and boosting the jobs-rich low carbon economy.
“Tuesday’s vote was about sending a signal to all of those people being hit by this Government’s cuts and thinly-veiled attacks on the poor that there is an effective Opposition in this Parliament willing to stand up for these principles – even if Labour won’t.”
Dr Eilidh Whiteford , the SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson commented :
“Labour have found themselves in a shambles over this vote- they have sold out on their founding principles of protecting workers’ rights. The party could not even convince their MPs their position was a good idea, and many rebelled. Quite understandably, they are facing a fierce backlash from supporters.
“A very simple principle underpins what we have been debating. If someone works a shift for an employer, they deserve a fair day’s pay for their time and effort. There are no circumstances in which it’s OK not to pay employees, or to pay them a derisory sum below the legal Minimum Wage for the work they undertake.

“There are many who will feel that the Government’s Back to Work Schemes fall some way short of this principle – but the critical point is that the courts have found aspects of the regulations and sanctions regime attached to the schemes to be unlawful.
“Labour have allowed the Tories to effectively be ‘off the hook’. That is simply astonishing, and leaves Labour with many questions to answer.
“The real solution – the only workable solution – is to drive growth and create demand in the economy. That’s the way to create jobs and get people into work. Only with a Yes vote in 2014 can we ensure that those key aims are met and we avoid the sorry situation of Tory and Labour assaults on the working poor.”

Seven Labour MPs representing Scottish constituencies rebelled against party instructions and voted with the SNP, Plaid and the Greens against the Coalition’s retrospective legislation.  All others abstained and allowed the bill to pass. 

The rebels were:  Katy Clark, North Ayrshire and Arran; Michael Connarty, Linlithgow and East Falkirk; Ian Davidson, Glasgow South West; Mark Lazarowicz, Edinburgh North and Leith; Jim McGovern, Dundee West; Sandra Osborne, Ayr Carrick and Cumnock; Jim Sheridan, Paisley and Renfrewshire North.


Adrian B
2013-03-20 05:22

And this is what the Beeb report on this story:…/…

Changes to housing benefit which have been dubbed a “bedroom tax” could cost Scots council and housing association tenants £53m a year, a study claims.

Rather telling really – and look at the picture that they use? Pathetic
2013-03-20 07:33

Westminster is now dictating and no longer representing the views of those they are paid to represent.
‘Not fit for purpose’ is the applying phrase.
2013-03-20 13:00

Quoting hiorta:

Westminster is now dictating

When a government acts to overthrow the rule of law it is in fact a dictatorship and democracy no longer exists.


2013-03-20 07:51

Ian Davidson voting with the SNP ?
2013-03-20 09:06

Brave man, perhaps he’s not afraid of “getting a doing” from his “Scottish” leader, Ms. Lamont.

No “stairhied rammy”? Obviously not her job…… being a Westminster MP. It’s a Holyrood reserved matter.

2013-03-20 08:06

The Lib dems actions also need highlighting.
Eg. Argyll and Bute Lib Dem MP Alan Reid also voted YES.
2013-03-20 08:55

How did Moore and Alexander vote.??
2013-03-20 12:21

They voted aye but you probably guessed that.

2013-03-20 08:54

This law and the actions of the Labour Party are a disgrace. I wrote a blog sometime ago on my views on the Labour Party but never actually thought I would see it commit virtual suicide so soon but they might just have done it now.


If their members can’t see them for what they are now then I truly give up any hope that there are any people with decency within the Labour movement. Some may have voted against but not enough, even my local MP Jim McGovern, yes him of the £120 toaster, voted against. I can only assume he got the lobbies mixed up.

Another aspect of this that has been alarming, although I maybe should not be surprised, is the total lack of coverage by the MSM. They should be hanging their heads in shame, or have the Condems with the help of Liebour tamed a tame press with fear of legislation. What a sad day yesterday and my son smashed my 51 inch plasma tv.
From The Suburbs
2013-03-20 09:12

Find out who voted here need to scroll down…/…

Don’t think any Labour MPs voted with the Tories but vast majority sat on their hands and abstained. Lib Dems voted with the Tories.
Displaced Patriot
2013-03-20 09:45

We can get as angry as we like ,we are the converted.
The vast majority of the voting public do not even know this despicable piece of legislation exists.
The compliant and corrupt MSM have not just buried the story they have ignored it.
Meanwhile headlines like “Alex Salmond ate my hamster” rule the airwaves.
A few hundred of us marching to Pacific Quay will not make an ounce of difference.
Something far more dramatic is required to waken the Scottish public to the disgusting attacks on our democracy and rule of law.
2013-03-20 10:11

shock horror seen this on Twitter!

Alistair Darling

YouTube: something we won’t get access to
in a separate Scotland – can barely access it
now. #BetterTogether #indyref

after the YouTube 10 unionist myths and lies debunked was taken down because the better together is claiming copyrights to the myth and lies! (no joke)
2013-03-20 19:10

there was a link on twitter to download that 10 myths here is the download link that way it can be uploaded many times to the internet…/ .happy to help the Yes cause

2013-03-20 10:27

Labour in Aberdeen aren’t answering any questions,not to the Press and Journal anyway.
The dummy has been spat out ,toys out of the pram and heads under the blankets all because the P&J; printed that during a trial a drug dealer’s legal team said their client is a Labour “Activist”!!!!!
2013-03-20 10:36

Scottish unemployment falls by 4,000, and Michael Moore takes all the credit. Can I have some of what he’s on.
Ready to Start
2013-03-20 10:43

Labour won’t have any questions to answer as no coverage on BBC or Scottish press of this story.
2013-03-20 14:39

There’s virtually no coverage of it in the London-based media either. It’s like it went down a “memory hole”: all quite Orwellian.

It will be interesting to see whether it gets a mention on Question Time on BBC1 on Thursday. Somehow I doubt it.

2013-03-20 15:41

If Scots wish to avoid the Thatcherism on steroids that is about to engulf us,then the referendum is our only way out.The remnants of Blair’s New Labour who are still running the show,are complicent in this along with all the other Westminster parties (SNP excluded) and have offered no alternative to the Tories for a very long time.
2013-03-20 16:29

Would at least one just the one labour supporter like to post on here the reason for the vast majority of their MP’s to chose to abstaine from voting last night against the tory-libdem motion to rip off the unemployed.

Surely Labour is not putting its view that getting the middle english vote comes before the rights of the people who won a court action against this tory government.

Aye labour a really really good reason to vote YES.

Alba Gu Brath.
2013-03-20 17:59

I just wish we didn’t have to wait until 2014. It really is getting quite nasty. I predict the crime figures rising, and giving the Condem Government more excuses to change the laws of the land.
2013-03-20 20:24

be carefull what you have already done this retrospective law that labour made possible means you could fart today and then in a years time they introduce a law banning farting with retrospect of a year ago. Sad but true roll on #indyref

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