As you may already know, I am supporting Yvette Cooper in the Labour leadership contest. I believe that with Yvette as leader we can learn the lessons of our election defeat while staying true to our values so as to build a united movement to win in 2020.
There has been a lot of misinformation regarding what happened on Monday night’s vote on the welfare bill. Here is what Yvette Cooper has to say about the decisions made by the Parliamentary Labour Party:
Lots of Labour members and supporters have been getting in touch with me to ask about my position on the Tories’ welfare plans, and the bill which was voted on this week.
So I wanted to write a message to you directly to let you know where I stand.
I’ve argued from the start for Labour to oppose the Tories’ welfare plans and cuts to tax credits and set out our own alternative approach instead.
The Tories would make people worse off in work, reduce work incentives, hit millions of working families, and push more children into poverty.
The reality is that Labour did oppose the Welfare Reform Bill; we voted for a Labour amendment that would have stopped the whole Bill altogether. But that’s got completely lost.
We need to have the confidence to set out an alternative Labour approach – not just think we have to swallow the Tories’ plans.
That’s why I’m going to be campaigning over the summer for Labour to go much further in opposing and voting against these plans if we cannot get the changes we need.
And with the news that George Osborne is asking departments to cut another 40% from their budgets, it’s clear that these welfare plans are just the beginning. The scale of these planned spending cuts has nothing to do with getting the deficit down, and everything to do with a Tory ideological attack on the public services Britain depends on.
Labour has to be confident enough and serious enough to take the Tories on.
Yvette Cooper MP
PS: I’ve written a blog post about the Tories’ plans and what Labour can do to support work and help children out of poverty, and build responsibility and respect into the welfare system. Click here to read my full response: http://www.yvetteforlabour.co.uk/welfarevote