The new way to stay in power – abstain on anything important
“… Dr Wollaston, chairwoman of the health committee, at one stage threatened to vote against the Government unless ministers recognised they need to address a “fundamental flaw”.
… Dr Wollaston rebelled against the Tory whip by voting in favour of Labour’s motion.
She was the only Conservative MP to do so, according to the division list.
The result of the vote released by the House of Commons also said DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds voted in the aye lobby in support of Labour’s motion.
But Mr Dodds told the Press Association he did not vote in the aye lobby, adding: “They made a mistake.”
Labour MP Anneliese Dodds (Oxford East) was not listed on the ayes despite speaking out against UC roll-out in the debate.
Raising a point of order after the vote, Ms Abrahams said: “This is a major defeat for the Government on their flagship social security programme.
“Conservative whips and the Prime Minister have spent today strong-arming Conservative MPs to vote against a pause of the rollout of Universal Credit.
“While the Secretary of State has retreated on various aspects of his Universal Credit policy, in a panicked attempt to appease Tory MPs who know that the policy is not fit for purpose.
“Yet again, the Prime Minister and the Tories cannot command a majority in the House of Commons.
“The Prime Minister is in office, but not in power.”
Commons Speaker John Bercow said: “A resolution of the House of Commons is just that, an expression of the view of the nation’s elected representatives in the House of Commons.
“Constitutionally, and this is important…the House cannot direct ministers, and it is for ministers in the Government to decide how to respond to the clearly expressed view of the House.”
Mr Bercow added that he felt confident ministers would do so, having granted an urgent debate on the Government’s response to opposition day debates just two weeks ago
Tory MP Peter Bone (Wellingborough) said it would be helpful where a substantive motion was passed that the Government came to the House to explain what they intended to do about it.
Mr Bercow responded it was “a statement of fact” Labour’s motion was passed, adding: “I think it highly desirable that the Government, in the light of the result, should come to the House and show respect for the institution by indicating what it intends to do.”
Tory former minister Sir Edward Leigh questioned what the point of the Commons was if it merely expresses opinions “for the sake of it” as he made a point of order following the vote.
He said he had trooped through the lobbies to vote on hundreds of divisions on Wednesdays over 34 years as an MP, and that he was “under the impression that it served some purpose”.
And what worries me is that surely there is some sort of precedent here.
“This is not and should not be a university debating society, what is the point of the House of Commons if we just express opinions for the sake of it and surely when we vote it should have some effect?”
The division list was later updated, with Mr Dodds’ name no longer on the ayes list and Ms Dodds’ name appearing on the list of Labour MPs who supported the motion.”