Scrap the bedroom tax – George – not taking this lying down
West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, says that Conservative Ministers have no right to overrule Parliament using an underhand device in an attempt to kill off his Bill to scrap the bedroom tax. Mr George is challenging the authority of Conservative Government Ministers to defy the clearly expressed will of Parliament by overruling the majority of MPs by refusing to table a money resolution.
After challenging the Prime Minister earlier this week, Mr George appealed to Commons Leader, William Hague, after the Tories revealed on Tuesday 28th October 2014 that they were withholding the necessary money for Mr George’s Private Members’ Bill to proceed.
Mr George’s question and subsequent response from The Leader of the House, Rt. Hon William Hague MP, as follows:
This is a question of principle and reflects remarks made by the right hon. Gentleman in respect of the tabling of money resolutions. One has to study the annals of history to find occasions when a Government have refused to table a money resolution, thereby frustrating the clear will of the House. Although it may not be entirely unprecedented, it is extremely rare and exceptional for a Government to decline to respect the clearly expressed will of the House by refusing to table a money resolution, so will the Government be prepared to make a statement on the occasions when this situation occurs so that the House can then express its will again? This is an important issue.
The hon. Gentleman is understandably promoting his Bill and would like to have seen a money resolution for it. He is right that it is unusual but not unprecedented for the Government not to move a money resolution. There have been previous instances of that under Governments of different parties. He also understands that his Bill is a very unusual one, because it is unusual for the expenditure entailed by a private Member’s Bill—the precise figure may be disputed—to run into hundreds of millions of pounds. On such issues, the Government must, of course, ask whether they can responsibly provide a money resolution. This is an unusual situation. There is no particular provision in our rules for statements about that, but I think I have made clear the Government’s position.
Mr George said, “The Tories have no right to defy the clear decision and will of Parliament. They are abusing the privilege of executive power. In spite of the preposterous claim by Ministers that the Bill would cost the taxpayer £1billion the Commons voted overwhelmingly (by 75 votes) to support the Bill. The actual cost would be less than a third of that amount.
“The Tories have been happy to reward the wealthy who under occupy their second homes whilst penalising the poor who under occupy their council homes. They have not heard the end of this. We will not take this lying down.”