Mon, 20 May 2024

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The House Live All
By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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Tory MP warns Government is on 'road to tyranny' after ignoring Universal Credit vote

John Ashmore

2 min read

A veteran Tory MP today warned his party against following the "road to tyranny" after the Government side-stepped a Commons vote on Universal Credit.

Backbencher Sir Edward Leigh warned his party that if they “live by the sword now, our Conservative values in the future might die by the sword”.

The Government imposed a three line whip last night on MPs to abstain on a Labour motion calling for a pause in the rollout of Universal Credit.  

But Labour forced a vote by getting two on its side to protest the motion, and it carried 299 to 0 with one Tory rebel, the Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston.

It comes after reports that the Government plans to avoid taking part in any non-binding opposition motions to avoid rebellions that could undermine the minority administration.

But Sir Edward declared to the Commons this morning: “Frankly, the road to tyranny is paved by executives ignoring parliaments.”

He added: “Parliament does matter, because if we as Conservatives live by the sword now, our Conservative values in the future might die by the sword.”

And he asked: “It may be in the future that there is a minority Labour government. They may produce policies which we think are deeply contrary to our personal liberties…

“We may muster a majority in parliament against it. What happens then if a future labour government says ‘I’m sorry; you set the precedent. This is only a n expression of opinion. We are going to ignore parliament’?”

Tory MP Peter Bone meanwhile said: "We cannot ignore the will of the House."

Other parties also piled in, with Shadow Leader of the House Valierie Vaz saying the Government had been “disrespectful” of the Commons.

Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom said DWP ministers would “come back to this place to update the House” on Universal Credit

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