THE DUP defied their Tory allies yesterday after they backed a Labour motion in favour of increasing NHS pay.
Labour’s proposal won before it even went to a vote as it became clear that the Tories would lose in their bid to oppose calls to end the unfair public-sector pay cap.
The embarrassing defeat for PM Theresa May was the first time that the DUP broke with its new allies after the two parties struck an £1 billion confidence and supply agreement to vote together on key pieces of legislation after the general election.
The Commons unanimously approved the nonbinding Opposition Day motion on NHS pay.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “The real question is will the government now ignore the clear will of the House or will it take action to end the pay cap in the NHS.
“It’s extremely rare for the government not to vote down an opposition motion and the only explanation is it avoided a vote because it knew it would lose it.
“So far the Tories’ warm words for NHS staff have proved nothing more than hot air … it’s time the pay cap was ended for all public-sector workers including our overstretched and undervalued NHS workforce.”
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said that the DUP supporting the Labour motion proves that the Tories have “lost the argument on public-sector pay.”
He added: “Ministers must know they’re in the wrong when even their quasi-coalition partners in the DUP have turned against them … It’s now time for the Prime Minister and the chancellor to deliver those proper pay rises.”
Another motion on university tuition fees — which the DUP campaigned against ahead of the general election — also tabled by Labour was scheduled for after the Star went to print last night.
After the NHS pay debate, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner took the government to task for sneakily passing through a law to increase the current £9,000 a year university fees by £1,000 through secondary legislation.
This meant that it was not subject to Parliamentary scrutiny by a debate or vote.
She also criticised ministers for scrapping the nursing training bursary, getting rid of maintenance grants for students in England, and refusing to increase the current £21,000 salary threshold for repayment of student loans.