The Wel­fare and Work Bill is a bru­tal piece of work

Rutherglen Reformer - - Margaret Ferrier -

It feels like I was elected just yesterday and al­ready sum­mer re­cess is upon us.

Although Par­lia­ment will not be in ses­sion I will still be as ac­tive as ever.

I am very much look­ing for­ward to spend­ing more time in my con­stituency, meet­ing lo­cal peo­ple and hear­ing what you have to say about your area and help­ing with the is­sues you face.

I will also be set­ting up and mov­ing into my con­stituency of­fice in the next cou­ple of weeks.

Although it has been a short week in Par­lia­ment, it is one that has caused out­rage on so­cial media.

The rea­son for the out­rage? Labour’s mass ab­sten­tion from the Wel­fare and Work Bill - or #Lab­stain as it has now come to be known.

This Bill, part of the first wholly Tory Bud­get in two decades, is a bru­tal piece of work.

A sin­gle par­ent work­ing full time on the min­i­mum wage for 37 hours a week with two young chil­dren will lose £1200 a year as a re­sult of changes pro­posed in this Bill, even af­ter you take into ac­count the pro­posed in­crease in the min­i­mum wage.

At a time when more peo­ple are in need of emer­gency food aid than ever be­fore, this Bill is a dra­co­nian and re­gres­sive piece of leg­is­la­tion, which will re­sult in many more peo­ple be­ing pushed be­low the poverty line.

Forty-eight Labour politi­cians ig­nored the or­der of their party whips and voted with the 56 SNP MPs against the Bill.

These brave 48 were de­clared rebels, for do­ing what any de­cent Labour politi­cian should have done. Many will no doubt be ask­ing, what is the point of Labour any more?

Among those stand­ing in the Labour lead­er­ship con­test, only Jeremy Cor­byn had the guts to stand up to the Tories and op­pose the Bill.

Andy Burn­ham, who many view as the fron­trun­ner in the con­test, bizarrely is­sued a press re­lease stat­ing that it was wrong for Labour to ab­stain… just af­ter he him­self ab­stained.

Just last week Ruther­glen MSP James Kelly lam­basted the Bud­get in this very pa­per, yet this week, his col­leagues sat on their hands and al­lowed the Tories to push it through.

How can the Labour Party dare to call them­selves the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion, if they can’t even vote against a piece of leg­is­la­tion that will re­quire a rape vic­tim to prove she was vi­o­lated -- to re­live her grue­some or­deal -- in or­der to qual­ify for child ben­e­fit?

As we head into this re­cess pe­riod, I cer­tainly won’t be rest­ing on my lau­rels and will be gear­ing up to re­turn in Septem­ber to hold the Tories to ac­count and op­pose their re­gres­sive and harm­ful plans.

Scot­land’s de­ci­sion to elect 56 SNP MPs was a for­tu­nate one and we are, for all in­tents and pur­poses, the ef­fec­tive op­po­si­tion at Westminster.

The in­fa­mous Vow wasn’t worth the pa­per it was writ­ten on, but my vow to my con­stituents to stand up to the Tories is one that I will cer­tainly keep.

Work­ing for you Ruther­glen MP Mar­garet Ferrier

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