19 Days Remaining

Thursday 15th
posted by Luke James in Britain

LABOUR MP Diane Abbott accused her party’s leaders yesterday of doing working people a “great disservice” by backing Tory plans for permanent austerity.

The London mayoral hopeful was among five Labour MPs who defied their whips to vote against the Con-Dems’ budget responsibility charter.

Katy Clark, Dennis Skinner, Austin Mitchell and Roger Godsiff also opposed the charter alongside 13 MPs from other parties.

But support from shadow chancellor Ed Balls saw the charter, which includes plans to slash public spending by a further £30 billion, passed by a whopping 515 votes to 18.

The Star reported that Green MP Caroline Lucas called his position “feeble and inconsistent” during Tuesday’s debate.

And Ms Abbott yesterday revealed her dismay at watching fellow Labour MPs ordered to troop through the lobbies with Tories and Lib Dems.

“I was hugely disappointed yesterday to see the Labour Party vote in favour of further austerity and in doing so we have done hardworking people a great disservice,” she told the Morning Star.

“Instead of simply mimicking current practices we should be offering a solid alternative through investment in public services to create real and sustainable growth.”

The budget responsibility charter embeds Chancellor George Osborne’s plans to wipe out Britain’s £90 billion deficit in future budgets.

They include £30 billion in cuts that Institute for Fiscal Studies experts described as “colossal” and warned would reduce public spending to 1930s levels.

Mr Balls warned voting against the charter would allow the Tories to characterise Labour as irresponsible at the election.

He also insisted there was a “stark difference” between Tory and Labour deficit reduction plans, saying he would raise tax on the richest alongside “sensible spending cuts.”

But Ms Abbott said: “I voted against the budget charter yesterday as I have seen first-hand in my constituency the alarming impact of the cuts to public expenditure.

“It is clear that the austerity policies of the Tory-led coalition have wrought incredible damage to our communities, the worst consequences of which we won’t witness for at least the next five to 10 years.”

A number of left Labour MPs also abstained.