Only a tiny band of nine Labour MPs stood up against a vicious ConDem assault on public service pensions in the Commons on Monday night.
Most Labour members abstained, despite an admission from Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander that his "reforms" would cut public sector pension costs by 40 per cent over the next 50 years.
Lib Dem Mr Alexander said the majority of public service unions had accepted the reforms and the government had "taken great care to work with the TUC."
But left Labour MP Katy Clark denounced his Public Service Pensions Bill as a "devastating" attack.
Seizing on the minister's admission of 40 per cent long-term cuts in pension costs, she said most people were shocked by 40 per cent pay cuts in Greece, yet unaware of the equivalent cuts in pensions here.
Fellow left MP John McDonnell protested that the Bill would mean that civil servants, teachers, firefighters, hospital workers and council workers would "work longer, pay more and get less."
It was "extremely damaging to the well-being and living standards of ordinary working-class people," he said.
Mr McDonnell emphasised that the measure had been rejected by public service union PCS, teachers' union NUT, prison officers union POA, firefighters union FBU and royal auxiliary workers union RMT.
Easington Labour MP Grahame Morris seized on the government's demand that firefighters should retire at 60 instead of 55, despite their "extreme" occupation.
Research showed that only elite athletes could maintain well into their fifties the levels of fitness required by the fire and rescue service, he said.
Labour shadow treasury minister Rachel Reeves said she supported in principle the main measures in the Bill but would work to improve it at the committee stage.
"The government and public service employees do need to find ways of adjusting to the welcome fact that people are living longer," said Ms Reeves.
The Bill received a second reading by 276 to 19. Tellers for the "Noes" were left Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams.
Veteran MP Dennis Skinner was among Labour members voting against, along with four SNP MPs, Green MP Caroline Lucas and four Irish MPs.
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