General

By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has claimed that Labour's credibility is severely in question after the party abstained in a vote, forced by the SNP and Plaid Cymru, to oppose Tory plans to cut the top rate of tax for the highest earners. 

Despite vocal opposition and several pledges from shadow chancellor Ed Balls (pictured) to vote against the measure, in an embarrassing no-show Labour MPs failed to vote against the measure in the Commons.

Speaking at the start of four days of Budget debate in the Commons on Thursday last week, Mr Balls said: "There will be a vote next week, we will vote against the 50p [tax cut].  It's the wrong tax cut at the wrong time."

However despite Mr Balls' pledge, the vast majority of Labour MPs failed to show up for the vote against the tax cut.  The Coalition Government won the vote on the 45p rate by 319 to 22, giving them an overwhelming majority of 297.

The realisation that Labour MPs had failed to vote against the cut in the top rate of tax prompted mockery from Treasury minister David Gauke and his Conservative colleague Andrew Bridgen.  Mr Bridgen asked Commons Speaker John Bercow if he had powers to "censure HM opposition who spent five days opposing the cut in the top rate of tax from 50p and then abstained from voting the lobbies".

A Treasury source described Labour's no-show as "bizarre ... given their rhetoric just a few days ago".

Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Simon Hughes MP, said: "After five days of huff and puff from Ed Balls, and sustained protest about the proposal to lower the highest level of tax rate next year, Labour MPs were not in the chamber to vote against the change.  This says all the public need to know about Labour's position.  A last-minute increase in the higher tax rate before the election and no real commitment to continue the 50p tax rate while they are in opposition shows how they value rhetoric more than action."

Mr Balls attempted to play down the embarrassing no-show on the Labour benches, saying that the party had earlier voted against the whole Budget package.  Responding to jibes on Twitter, Mr Balls said:  "No chance to vote solely on 50p tax.  Will ensure there is in Finance Bill and vote against."

Commenting on Labour's failure to vote against the cut in the top rate of tax for the highest earners, SNP Westminster Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said:

"After claiming they opposed the Tories tax cut for millionaires, Labour's credibility is now severely in question after this embarrassing no-show.

"Since the Budget, Ed Balls has been in and out of television studios blustering about the Chancellor's tax plans and promising to oppose them – but at the first opportunity to vote against this unfair Tory plan and Labour abstain.  Yet again Labour are letting the Tories off the hook.

"While Labour capitulate, the SNP will oppose the Tories unfair Budget which punishes pensioners and public sector workers and does nothing to stimulate the economy.

"This was not a budget for Scotland and is proof of the urgent need for Scotland to have control over financial powers with independence."

 

Newsnet Scotland is aware of leaked emails showing Labour figures discussing how to manage this blunder - an article will follow shortly.

Comments  

 
# alisdair 2012-03-27 17:03
This article tells you all you need to know about labour.
 
 
# Sannymac 2012-03-27 17:08
Let us make sure that the Scottish Public, in particular the pensioners, are fully aware of this Labour failure to support the lower paid against the stinking rich.
 
 
# edinburgh quine 2012-03-27 17:24
So NewsnetScotland which is run by unpaid volunteers (as I understand it)can have this story out quickly.

I've been on the EBC website and narry a mention. Not in the UK, Political or Scotland pages. And they're supposed to be full-time, unbiased professionals. Give me a break
 
 
# clootie 2012-03-27 18:06
eq

That sums it up - unbelieveable!
 
 
# nchanter 2012-03-29 09:14
Quoting edinburgh quine:
So NewsnetScotland which is run by unpaid volunteers (as I understand it)can have this story out quickly.

I've been on the EBC website and narry a mention. Not in the UK, Political or Scotland pages. And they're supposed to be full-time, unbiased professionals. Give me a break

I sympathize with the BBC ITV etc. for if we can't tell the difference between Labour , Libs, and tories , how can they.
 
 
# brh206 2012-03-27 17:24
Liebour just get better and better. Lets hope the MSM actually go with this story as it can only help get the message across to Liebour voters in Scotland, Don't Waste Your Vote in May or 2014.
 
 
# Suomi 2012-03-27 17:45
Unbelievable that Labour would fail to attack a tax cut for the wealthy but not defend the needs of pensioners.I think that they are due a very bad result in the local elections in Scotland
 
 
# Legerwood 2012-03-27 18:14
Quote:
Suomi 2012-03-27 17:45
Unbelievable that Labour would fail to attack a tax cut for the wealthy but not defend the needs of pensioners


But Labour did the same thing when they were in power. Remember G Brown's last budgert as Chancellor doing away with the 10p tax band? No one will be worse off he said.

That affected the poorest who were just making enough to pay some tax AND pensioner especially single women in the 60-65 age group. Our tax bill doubled. And what did he do with the money? He cut the tax rate for the better off!

labour is as bad as the Tories in this respect
 
 
# edinburgh quine 2012-03-27 21:52
Wasn't Brown's first pension increase when he took office as chancellor, something like 37p?
 
 
# DJ 2012-03-27 17:51
This is no surprise. Labour's default position is to oppose anything the SNP agree with.
 
 
# doonhamer 2012-03-27 18:19
Quoting DJ:
This is no surprise. Labour's default position is to oppose anything the SNP agree with.



ABSOLUTELY! Given the choice of joining the SNP and defending Scotland or running away and avoiding voting against their Tory unionist allies, they choose to run away every time.

That subway shop near Westminster must have a terrible time accommodating all the Labour MP's hiding under the tables.
 
 
# RandomScot 2012-03-27 22:11
Willie Bain MP tweeted that the Parliamentary Labour Party have a long standing policy against voting for any SNP motion.

Which doesn't surprise me but contradicts the email chain published on Order Order
 
 
# EphemeralDeception 2012-03-27 18:21
Where the hell were they anyway? A vote on the UK budget and Income tax is a subject I thought all MPs were supposed to represent their constituents on?

Come to think of it maybe Eric Joyce is the only one with an excuse for not attending AND serving a community, since he has a court order to do so...
 
 
# heraldnomore 2012-03-27 18:21
Now we couldn't expect labour to vote with PC and SNP could we, that would never do. There's a good summary on the SNP website, and links from Guido to an interesting chain of emails through the Labour hierarchy, including the office of the member for Easterhoose.

.../labouremailleak.pdf

Remember this is the same Labour members who joined with the blue tories in voting for more NHS privatisation in England, despite having no say in health matters for their own constituents.

The local council elections cannot come soon enough. I hear the councils have had their final meetings and farewells have been said. Expectation is low within the red ranks; though it's pretty high here.
 
 
# Edna Caine 2012-03-27 20:08
And this is now the approach to politics of today's Scottish heirs of the Socialist tradition of John MacLean, Keir Hardie et al -

"We should probably hold off releasing line in Scotland just yet, in the hope that it is ignored, but will probably have to do it later.
Will speak to the lobby down here and subtly find out what they are writing up today"
 
 
# call me dave 2012-03-27 18:47
Well it's obviously true that the Labour party couldn't organise a urine collection in a brewery.

It beggars believe that they would not support the SNP opposition to the reduction of the 50p tax to 45p.

An Open goal for them to at least show some support for the ordinary people of the UK who get by on minimal wage rates.

Hello Ed Miniballs!- - where were your lot at the vote, and what's Lamont going to say when she finds out Ms Curran was absent as well as her other Scottish socialists chums.

The union dividend!

Will it affect voting intentions for next council elections? Not if the BBC can help it. It will be a non-story for them.

VOTE YES for independence!
 
 
# .Scot 2012-03-27 20:41
Quoting call me dave:
Hello Ed Miniballs!- - where were your lot at the vote, and what's Lamont going to say when she finds out Ms Curran was absent as well as her other Scottish socialists chums.

VOTE YES for independence!




Sadly Call Me Dave, not one of the BBC interviewers are ever going to ask. it appears that the Labour Party have a direct line to their BBC (lobbying Group) aka Press pack and will order the line "Labour cannot be seen to support any Nationalist agenda so near to their attempt to break-up the British Union"!
 
 
# Teri 2012-03-27 18:50
It shows that in Westminster as well as in Holyrood, they either vote against or abstain on motions by the SNP. They have no principles, it's just a case of opposing everything the sNP suggest. Pathetic.
 
 
# mato21 2012-03-27 18:51
Worth a read
Leaked messages on the missed vote

.../labouremailleak.pdf
 
 
# edinburgh quine 2012-03-27 21:57
They are incredible. No apologies for missing the vote, nothing.

This is going to go around all the people I know, not a lot I'll grant you, that have even looked with approval at labour
 
 
# Fungus 2012-03-27 18:54
Milliband was on the radio earlier decrying the tanker drivers who are considering striking. Make you weep so it would.
 
 
# .Scot 2012-03-27 20:32
I am certain that the Tanker drivers are funding Ed Miliband's Party. Perhaps not as much as the Billionaires such as the Sainsburys etcetera and I am certain that Unite have no Yachts for those Labour elite to sun themselves on.

The Trades Union Unite, has already threatened to break ties with Labour. This would appear to be sufficiently large straw to break that Camel's back?
 
 
# mato21 2012-03-27 18:55
Sorry missed this had been posted by heraldnomore
 
 
# Dubai_scot 2012-03-27 19:32
The word on the street is the Labour Party were all in the Strangers Bar...apparently it was happy hour! LOL!
 
 
# edinburgh quine 2012-03-27 21:58
Swapping punches with Joycey?
 
 
# millie 2012-03-27 20:04
Dearie me! Surely Willie Bain didn’t abstain on this one?

I often hear him decrying the gap between rich and poor. – (Or is that just for the cameras Willie?).

And what about Johann Lamont- didn’t she, - (the ‘head’ of ‘Scottish’’ Labour),- tell her troops to vote against the tax cut FOR THE RICH??—No???

Johann, we all thought you were on the case when it comes to the gap between rich and poor – Aren’t you the party of the people. Truth is you can’t even rally your Scottish MPs at Westminster to do the honourable thing.
 
 
# RandomScot 2012-03-27 22:14
As I said above, Willie Bain explained it as a policy of always voting against any motion put forward by the SNP, irrespective of merit
 
 
# mato21 2012-03-27 22:18
Millie

A tweet from W.Bain

There is a longstanding PLP convention that we do not support SNP motions

He would appear to be unaware of the emails that made no mention of their convention
 
 
# proudscot 2012-03-28 14:05
Quoting millie:
Dearie me! Surely Willie Bain didn’t abstain on this one?

I often hear him decrying the gap between rich and poor. – (Or is that just for the cameras Willie?).

And what about Johann Lamont- didn’t she, - (the ‘head’ of ‘Scottish’’ Labour),- tell her troops to vote against the tax cut FOR THE RICH??—No???

Johann, we all thought you were on the case when it comes to the gap between rich and poor – Aren’t you the party of the people. Truth is you can’t even rally your Scottish MPs at Westminster to do the honourable thing.



Lamont was probably too busy conspiring with Baillie on dragging another pair of pensioners into the parliament public benches, to score another cheap political point, this time about how they were served cold lumpy porridge the last time they were in hospital.
 
 
# nchanter 2012-03-29 09:19
Quoting millie:
Dearie me! Surely Willie Bain didn’t abstain on this one?

I often hear him decrying the gap between rich and poor. – (Or is that just for the cameras Willie?).

And what about Johann Lamont- didn’t she, - (the ‘head’ of ‘Scottish’’ Labour),- tell her troops to vote against the tax cut FOR THE RICH??—No???

Johann, we all thought you were on the case when it comes to the gap between rich and poor – Aren’t you the party of the people. Truth is you can’t even rally your Scottish MPs at Westminster to do the honourable thing.

Gate keepers the lot of them.
 
 
# Johnf 2012-03-27 20:09
Going a wee bit off track here but have a look at this. m.local.stv.tv/.../... imploding? i think so!
 
 
# .Scot 2012-03-27 20:15
Poor Old labour will hang a Union Flag on this further disgrace and paint themselves as the British Defence League instead of being exposed as a Party that opposes for the sake of making mischief!

Scots do not need this type of dirty politicking nor do they need agitators against Scottish democracy called the Co-operative Party hiding behind Trades Union membership and the British Labour Party.

PS Thanks for posting the filthy Labour damage control emails. "Let's hope the British Nationalistic press just ignore it all",,,,,,,,,,,,,AG AIN?
 
 
# mysterywhiteboy 2012-03-27 20:17
The only thing more frustrating than the deed is the lack of coverage in mainstream media.
 
 
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2012-03-27 20:24
Right, let's give no quarter on this one. Get the message out by any means. The BBC staff at Pathetic Quay are going to have to wear rubber balaclava's to avoid this one.

I listened to Ed Balls on several programmes (a luxury rarely afforded to the SNP) rabbiting on about how Labour would vote against the reduction in the 50p supertax and then ...................... nothing???

Hit facebook, twitter, email, carrier pidgeons etc etc etc.
 
 
# Bob Kingdom of Fife 2012-03-27 20:29
From a party of hypocrites , they have no socialist soul left in their sorry ranks , Negativity oozes from their every political actions, do they have any positive statement to make to an already sceptical electorate , are ' the labour party ' in freefall , who is ed milliband , R I P ' THE MILLY MOLLY MANDY PARTY ' .
 
 
# Lucas 2012-03-27 20:45
Labour should be dancing on the Tories' grave after the nightmare of the last week for the Stupid Party. Instead of which, Labour has become the Even More Stupid party and let them off the hook! You couldn't make it up.
 
 
# Mr Rational 2012-03-27 20:50
First post, hopefully not too scary.

Anyhow, just in from doing a wee canvass for the council elections in a few weeks time. I'm in Edinburgh, and apart from the usual moans about trams, the budget was the number one topic tonight, especially with the older adults. Very, very angry about pensions, all directed towards the chancellor and labour....

The area is solid Tory!

They also said that while they are scared of independence, they recognise the good things that the SNP has done and can see the arguement for more powers. Remember, these people are solid Tory in a well off area and over 60. If we can reach out to them...
 
 
# Maryston4 2012-03-27 21:01
Good luck with your canvassing, Mr Rational.

Doing the same in north-east Glasgow - other end of the scale but also receptive.
 
 
# oldnat 2012-03-27 21:02
Welcome to the site. Encouraging canvass.
 
 
# Islegard 2012-03-27 22:05
Something to bear in mind regarding trams. I recently had to explain to someone who was to blame for the trams. Make sure anyone who complains about the trams fiasco knows exactly who is to blame.
 
 
# Mark 2012-03-27 23:13
We have been canvassing in Western Isles for a long time now and it has been an excellent time. Our MSP Dr Allan helps us on a regular basis.
We have the second highest canvass for the council and the highest canvass rate for the independence question.
We wish you success.
 
 
# raisethegame 2012-03-27 21:04
From Jon Craig's blog "May 3 Polls: Labour's To Lose?" on Sky......

"SCOTLAND

North of the border, Scottish voters are electing 1,222 councillors in 32 councils and the Welsh 1,224 in 21 councils.

In Scotland, where they vote on a form of single transferrable vote, there are currently no SNP-controlled councils.

Not yet!

Scottish Labour grandees tell me these elections in Scotland are vital for the party, because they will reveal whether Salmond's SNP has peaked - that's what they hope! - and whether Labour is making any sort of fightback in Scotland.

If I was a Labour grandee (!), I'd be worried about the rise in "Others" - principally the Nats - in those post-Budget/Tory sleaze opinion polls.

The Others are up three points to 13% in the latest ComRes poll in The Independent and up three to 16% according to Populus in The Times..."

blogs.news.sky.com/.../...
 
 
# balbeggie 2012-03-27 21:32
Dundee is an SNP controlled council.
 
 
# weegie38 2012-03-27 22:48
Quoting balbeggie:
Dundee is an SNP controlled council.

I'd suspect Jon Craig was thinking of councils with an SNP majority. It's true, but then only 1 out of all 32 councils has any single-party majority - North Lanarkshire. It's very difficult for any single party to win a majority under the STV electoral system.

According to wiki the SNP are in coalition or minority control of 13 of the 32 councils currently,
 
 
# Hing em high 2012-03-27 21:04
Stop it now please - my ribs are in agony!
 
 
# call me dave 2012-03-27 21:37
O/T
Murray wins 6-3 6-4
A wee oasis in a desert of political arm wrestling.
 
 
# Hing em high 2012-03-27 21:40
So he is British again?

I couldn't resist the invitation to arm wrestle!
 
 
# the wallace 2012-03-27 21:41
Well well,the new tory's not voting against the first tory's,now theres a surprise eh?
 
 
# alicmurray 2012-03-27 22:10
Article in Indy re Lab no vote.

blogs.independent.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# Marga B 2012-03-27 22:58
Hm. "wrong choice; wrong priority; wrong values; same old Labour Party."
 
 
# xyz 2012-03-27 22:16
OT -- Did I read on this site that when Labour were in Power at Holyrood they actually gave back a billion pounds of the block grant to Westminster?

I can't find that info now .. did I dream it?
 
 
# Islegard 2012-03-27 22:21
No its true I don't have the info I remember the story at the time and people on this site have recently mentioned it with details.
 
 
# xyz 2012-03-27 22:27
I ~may~ need a link to confirm my assertion in my conversation here:
scotsman.com/.../...
 
 
# Embra 2012-03-27 23:10
"By the end of the financial year 2006/07, HM Treasury held £1.5 billion of unspent Scottish Government money which had built up over a number of years"
- audit-scotland.gov.uk/.../...
 
 
# xyz 2012-03-27 23:34
That's great thanks. Earlier I just could not find confirmation except some mention here: bbc.co.uk/.../...

Then I got distracted by the rest of the comments where BBC Brian gets absolutely roasted (and rightly too) by the comments .. LOL
 
 
# J Wil 2012-03-27 22:57
I understood it was £1.5 B.
 
 
# tilly 2012-03-28 16:10
O/T (slightly)

From STV News:

European member states are "very unlikely" to veto Scotland's membership if it becomes independent, according to an expert on EU accession.
James Ker-Lindsay, senior research fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE), said the claim that Scotland would be blocked "does not appear to be based on any real evidence".

tinyurl.com/7edhc47
 

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