Labour force Commons vote on tuition fees rise

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Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner
PA Wire PA Images Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner
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13 September, 2017

They added that the party had decided not to fall into Labour's "trap", not least because the last time it voted against a similar Opposition Day debate it was accused of opposing higher pay for public sector workers.

It would be the first time the unionists have broken with the Tories since they formed a confidence and supply arrangement with them after the election in a £1billion deal.

The Tories are now expected to sit in their hands in the two votes - allowing the motions to pass in the belief they do not bind the Government to act.

The decision consigns Theresa May to an embarrassing Commons reverse but avoids a formal defeat and the awkward visual of DUP MPs trooping into the voting lobby with Labour.

It would have meant the first defeat for the Government since it took over after the General Election - highlighting Mrs May's vulnerability.

The Conservatives will vote against both motions, tabled by Labour to provoke exactly this type of divide between the DUP and the government.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson told the Guardian that the votes would not affect his party's relationship with the Tories.

"It must apply to the whole of the public sector, including the 55 per cent of workers who are not covered by the pay review bodies. The Government understood that is the way that we were going to vote", Mr Dodds told Sky News following the debate.

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said that the Conservatives were "desperate" to avoid a debate on the matter and that they were "ruling by decree" by pushing changes through using obscure statutory instruments that don't require MPs to vote.

Earlier this week Downing Street said the seven-year public sector pay cap is to be scrapped, unveiling a 1.7 per cent hike for prison officers and improvements totalling 2 per cent in police pay for 2017/18.

DUP MP Ian Paisley had signalled earlier in the Commons that his party would support the motion.

He said: 'It is welcome that the House of Commons has supported Labour's call for fair pay in the NHS.

Ms Rayner said MPs had voted unanimously to revoke the regulations, and questioned how to secure an undertaking from Education Secretary Justine Greening that the Government will immediately implement the "will of this House".


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