George seeks to amend Government Welfare plan

Posted on: 10th January 2013

MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives, Andrew George, is leading a rebellion against the Government’s Welfare Bill, with the support of his Liberal Democrat colleague Charles Kennedy and others (including local MP Dan Rogerson).


Immediately after the (less significant) Second Reading vote on Tuesday evening Mr George tabled a group of amendments for debate at the next and more crucial stage of the Bill on 21st January. (Copies of amendments are attached)


In view of some inaccurate reporting on the nature and relevance of Tuesday evening’s Second Reading vote Mr George also made the following comments:


  • This was the Second Reading vote; i.e. a gateway to the next stage of scrutiny and consideration of amendments. It was not the most important vote, it doesn’t become law after the vote.
  • I know I have a reputation for being a “rebellious MP” but I have never voted against the Government at Second Reading. Indeed, there’s no point. I’d lose my influence.
    •       My abstention is a forewarning to the Government that I’ll vote against at the significantly more crucial Third Reading vote if the Bill doesn’t significantly change. That’s on 21st January. That’s when the media and others should take more heed of the vote.
    • There is currently only one raft of amendments to the Bill; all drafted by me with my name as lead (copies attached).
    • I want to succeed in stopping the Government’s plans, not merely engaging in pointless political theatrics.
    • This doesn’t become law until it’s passed through all its stages. I’ll vote against it – in the most crucial vote – when we reach that point.
    • For all their bluster, the Labour Party has not (yet) proposed any amendments to the Bill.
    • I fully expect to attract routine abuse from political detractors but if they are genuinely concerned about stopping this, rather than merely engaging in ill informed point scoring, they should encourage their (presumably) Labour friends to work with me and support my amendments on the 21st.
    • Those constituents who are genuinely concerned about the future up-rating of benefits/tax credits should get in contact with me. I’d be pleased to discuss it with them.