SCOTTISH Labour MPs have been heavily criticised after nearly a quarter failed to vote against the bedroom tax policy in a motion put forward by their own party.
Key players such as Anas Sarwar, deputy leader of the party in Scotland, and former Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy were among the 46 MPs who didn’t show up for the vote on the controversial spare room tax.
Kirkcaldy MP and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown - who claimed last month he was an ‘ex-politician’ - and Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander also failed to to vote following the party’s debate in Westminster on the policy.
Of the Labour MPs who failed to show up, ten represent Scottish constituencies.
The SNP hit out at the no-show from the Labour MPs, with SNP work and pensions spokeswoman Dr Eilidh Whiteford saying that they needed to explain their absences, adding: “We could have been talking about how the bedroom tax has been scrapped but instead the question on the minds of many Scots is: Where were they?
“Some may have very good reasons for missing the vote but there can be no excuse for a quarter of Scotland’s Labour MPs not turning up for a vote to scrap the bedroom tax that could have been won.”
But a Scottish Labour spokesman claimed that all the party’s missing MPs had been ‘paired up’ with an absent Tory, meaning the outcome of the vote was not affected.
The Labour motion to scrap the policy was defeated by 252 votes to 226.
The spokesman said the party were ‘disappointed’ that the government had used their majority to ‘re-affirm their support for the hated bedroom tax’.
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves hit out at the policy during the debate in Parliament, vowing: “If I am Secretary of State in 2015, the first thing I will do is reverse this unfair and pernicious tax.”
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