Senior Labour figures have sent strong signals that the party will now be more willing to stand up for benefit claimants and attack the government welfare reforms that have damaged the lives of disabled people.The most high-profile example during this week’s party conference in Brighton (pictured) was from the party’s new shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, who began his speech by talking about the death of Michael O’Sullivan.O’Sullivan from north London, killed himself as a result of being found “fit for work”, a scandal that was uncovered last month by Disability News Service.McDonnell told Labour delegates: “The coroner concluded his death was a direct result of the decision in his case. I don’t believe Michael’s case stands alone.”McDonnell, the most prominent parliamentary supporter of the disabled people’s anti-cuts movement over the last five years, told delegates that a Labour government would “end this brutal treatment of disabled people”.But there was also strong support from the new shadow work and pensions secretary, Owen Smith, who said Labour would rebuild the solidarity “shaken” by “divisive Tory talk of ‘strivers versus scroungers’”.He said there was a need to “change the debate on social security in Britain”, and said: “We can’t let their divisive rhetoric of shirkers and workers stop us making the case for fair-minded reform of the system, with controls on costs, but compassion for all who need it.”He said there were “no votes to be won” by “aping Tory language” and he pledged not to do so himself.He added: “Britain’s social security system, like our NHS, should be something we are proud of, a national asset that is there for all of us if ever we need it.”Smith accused the government of “calling themselves compassionate while driving disabled people to the brink”, and promised that he would be “up and after” work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith on issues such as the “scandalous impact of the work capability assessment”.He said Duncan Smith “deserves to be hounded for the way he has treated so many disabled people in our communities, with his demeaning fit for work tests, his cuts to mobility allowances – lifelines for so many – and his desperate, awful bedroom tax”.Smith won a standing ovation from delegates when he ended his speech by promising to oppose the government’s new welfare reform and work bill “line by cruel line”.His message was mirrored by Debbie Abrahams, the new shadow minister for disabled people, who criticised the “absolutely appalling” language used by the government around welfare reform.She told a fringe meeting that Labour would be “actively campaigning” on the issue, “taking it out to the country, describing why it is so important that we have a welfare system that enables and empowers people and the legislation that supports that”.
MPs have rejected Theresa May’s Brexit motion tonight, as well Labour’s demand for an early ‘meaningful vote’ on her deal.The defeat of the government’s motion arguably makes it harder for May to secure further concessions from Brussels – throwing even more confusion into the Brexit debate.Labour’s amendment would have imposed a deadline of 27th February for the government to hold a meaningful vote on their deal, or give MPs control over the Brexit process.The votes tonight reflected internal divisions within the Labour Party, with four Brexiteer Labour MPs backing the government’s Brexit motion and 41 rebels backing the SNP’s call for a year-long extension of Article 50.Just three motions were selected for debate by Speaker Bercow. See the full list of votes below.Amendment A: Meaningful vote by February 27thThe Labour leadership’s amendment to the PM’s Brexit statement would have forced a vote on the withdrawal deal by the 27th February. Failing that, parliament would have been able to determine what happened next.MPs rejected it by 322 votes to 306.There were no Labour rebels.Amendment i: Extending Article 50Amendment i, tabled by the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford, demanded that the government extend Article 50 to avoid ‘no deal’. The Lib Dems also backed the amendment.The amendment would have led to a significant delay to Brexit, requesting an extension of Article 50 to “no fewer than three months from 29 March 2019”.MPs rejected it by 315 votes to 93.It was backed by a significant number of Labour MPs.More Labour MPs voted for the SNP amendment to extend Article 50 than there are SNP MPs: pic.twitter.com/5hqgJMHfny— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) February 14, 2019Full list of the 41 Labour rebels who backed the SNP amendment:Debbie AbrahamsTonia AntoniazziLuciana BergerBen BradshawKaren BuckRuth CadburyAnn ClwydAnn CoffeyNeil CoyleMary CreaghStella CreasyJanet DabyGeraint DaviesRosie DuffieldPaul FarrellyMike GapesKate GreenHelen HayesMeg HillierDame Margaret HodgeSusan Elan JonesGed KillenDavid LammyChris LeslieAnna McMorrinMadeleine MoonIan MurrayAlbert OwenBarry SheermanGavin ShukerAndy SlaughterAngela SmithOwen SmithJo StevensGareth ThomasChuka UmunnaKeith VazCatherine WestMartin WhitfieldDr Paul WilliamsDaniel ZeichnerAmendment E: Impact assessment motion (withdrawn)MPs were due to vote on Remainer Tory MP Anna Soubry’s motion demanding the government publish its no deal impact assessments. It had significant cross-party support.The amendment stated that, within seven days, the government must “publish in full the most recent official briefing document, relating to business and trade, on the implications of a no-deal Brexit presented to cabinet.”But the MP withdrew the motion, after Brexit minister Chris Heaton-Harris said he was happy to meet with her, find the information she was seeking and publish it.Anna Soubry welcomed the offer, noting that she could bring her demand back to parliament if the government did not make good on their offer.As reported earlier, if Soubry’s amendment had passed, the government would have avoided a fresh vote on its statement.Government’s Brexit motionThe government’s motion read: “That this House welcomes the Prime Minister’s statement of 12 February 2019; reiterates its support for the approach to leaving the EU expressed by this House on 29 January 2019 and notes that discussions between the UK and the EU on the Northern Ireland backstop are ongoing.”MPs rejected it by 303 votes to 258.It was defeated by a majority of 45, resulting in another resounding defeat for the government.Four Labour MPs backed the government’s Brexit motion:Ian AustinKevin BarronJim FitzpatrickJohn Mann14 Labour MPs broke the whip to reject the Labour leadership’s Brexit amendment on 29th January, including the four who rebelled on Thursday night.The PM’s 12th February statement was successfully amended by Labour to take no deal off the table – a move that was unacceptable for the Tory right.That meant the Tory European Research Group abstained this evening, clearing the way for the government’s defeat.Theresa May was not in the chamber to respond to the defeat. Jeremy Corbyn said: “It’s surprising that the Prime Minister is not even here to hear the result of the vote.”Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said “parliament must decide what happens next”, avoiding mention of a fresh referendum:The Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy has once again been defeated. She can no longer claim to have a ‘substantial and sustainable majority’ in Parliament.We can’t go on like this. Parliament must decide what happens next. https://t.co/ts092D1MiT— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) February 14, 2019You can read the full list of amendments including their backers here.See the full list of Labour rebels from the Brexit votes on the 29th January.Josiah Mortimer is covering Sienna Rodgers while she is away.Tags:Tories /Theresa May /Labour /Brexit /Article 50 /amendments /Brexit vote /Corbyn amendment /
SAINTS have announced their 19-man squad for Friday’s First Utility Super League Round Seven clash at Hull Kingston Rovers.Mark Flanagan comes in for Joe Greenwood who misses out with an elbow injury.Saints 17 will be chosen from:2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 4. Josh Jones, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Travis Burns, 8. Mose Masoe, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Atelea Vea, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Alex Walmsley, 15. Mark Flanagan, 16. Lance Hohaia, 18. Luke Thompson, 19. Greg Richards, 22. Matty Dawson, 25. Andre Savelio. 28. Jack Ashworth.Chris Chester will select his Rovers side from:1. Kieran Dixon, 2. Ben Cockayne, 3. Darrell Goulding, 4. Josh Mantellato, 5. Ken Sio, 6. Maurice Blair, 7. Albert Kelly, 8. Adam Walker, 11. Kevin Larroyer, 12. Graeme Horne, 13. Tyrone McCarthy, 15. James Donaldson, 18. Liam Salter, 19. Kris Welham, 20. James Green, 21. Aaron Ollett, 23. Terry Campese, 24. John Boudebza, 31. Shaun Lunt.The game kicks off at 8pm and the referee will be James Child.For ticket details please click here.
James Roby and Alex Walmsley will be calling into the Totally Wicked Stadium from 5pm until 6pm.As with all our appearances this festive month, they will be on hand to sign autographs and pose for pictures.Why not pop down and say hello to the lads!The store will remain open until 7pm for all your Christmas gifts.On Saturday Justin Holbrook and Sean Long will be in store from 1pm-2pm!,James Roby and Alex Walmsley will be calling into the Totally Wicked Stadium from 5pm until 6pm.As with all our appearances this festive month, they will be on hand to sign autographs and pose for pictures.Why not pop down and say hello to the lads!The store will remain open until 7pm for all your Christmas gifts.On Saturday Justin Holbrook and Sean Long will be in store from 1pm-2pm!