THE SNP hopes to use its “magical omnipotent power” to defeat the Government’s welfare reforms after becoming the “saviours of the English foxes”.
Pete Wishart said he hoped he could ensure the “callous” Welfare Reform and Work Bill “miraculously disappears” simply by announcing the SNP intends to vote on it, in the wake of the Government’s retreat on fox hunting changes.
We’re seemingly credited for the election result in England, the near-death of the Liberal Democrats, the crisis in the Labour Party and now we’re the saviours of the English foxesPete Wishart
The SNP’s Commons leader also urged Labour to help his party stop the welfare measures announced in the Budget, which included limiting tax credits to two children and a further reduction in the benefit cap.
Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman has called for her party not to oppose all of the planned welfare cuts, which has triggered 40 MPs to table a Commons amendment aiming to scupper the entire package.
Speaking during business questions, Mr Wishart told Commons Leader Chris Grayling: “It seems like there’s an almost magical omnipotent power to the Scottish National Party just now.
“As soon as we announced our intention to exercise our democratic rights in this House and vote on a measure announced in the business statement it miraculously disappears.
“Such is this omnipotence that we’re seemingly credited for the election result in England, the near-death of the Liberal Democrats, the crisis in the Labour Party and now we’re the saviours of the English foxes.
“Now I’m going to try my arm and see if I can test this omnipotence a little bit further because I’m going to announce to you today that the Scottish National Party fully intends to vote on the Welfare Reform Bill.
“Let’s see if we can get that to miraculously disappear and we could do a job for the poor, the most marginal and vulnerable in society and protect them from this callous Bill that the Tories intend to bring forward.
“We can’t leave it to the Labour Party, we just can’t - I have no idea what they’re going to do on Monday and I hope they join us in the lobby and vote against this callous Bill but I have my doubts when I look round at my honourable colleagues in the Labour Party.
“I just hope they do the right thing.”
He also wished Mr Grayling an enjoyable break during the summer recess, adding: “But come back, drop your (English votes for English laws) plans and I’m sure we’ll get on just famously.”
Mr Grayling replied: “Maybe over the summer, as you relax on the beach, wherever you are, you might consider whether you really want to pursue the policy of reversing of what you rightly said to the McKay Commission when you give evidence to it, about the need for the Scottish National Party to stay outside matters that don’t affect them.
“It’s been a policy of principle for your party over many years and I think it’s a shame you have walked away from the principle.
“If anybody is U-turning at the moment, it’s you. You are a man of principle, I’m sure you will reflect again and perhaps take a different approach in the future.”
On the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, Mr Grayling disagreed with the SNP and said it would deliver measures for working people.
He said he believed it attracted the support of workers in Scotland who want to “see a welfare system that is fair”, particularly from those who pay for it.