Labour MPs defy Jeremy Corbyn and rebel over budget tax cuts

Despite party orders to abstain, they opposed the budget proposal to give 32 million voters a tax cut.

Although analysis shows the changes will benefit the well-off more than those on lower incomes, Labour’s John McDonnell has said he would not reverse the policy if he became chancellor.

The shadow chancellor said Labour would not oppose the tax cuts because they would also benefit low and middle-income people.

This provoked disquiet within the Labour ranks – and as the budget debate concluded after four days opponents of the leadership’s stance made their views known.

Former ministers Yvette Cooper, Dame Margaret Hodge and David Lammy were among those who voted against the budget resolution to raise the personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold to £50,000 from April 2019.

The others who rebelled were:
:: Karen Buck (Westminster North),
:: Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark),
:: Stella Creasy (Walthamstow),
:: Mike Gapes (Ilford South),
:: Roger Godsiff (Birmingham, Hall Green),
:: Kate Green (Stretford and Urmston),
:: Helen Jones (Warrington North),
:: Liz Kendall (Leicester West)
:: Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East),
:: Alison McGovern (Wirral South),
:: Ian Murray (Edinburgh South),
:: Lisa Nandy (Wigan),
:: Jess Phillips (Birmingham, Yardley),
:: Lucy Powell (Manchester Central),
:: Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East),
:: Gareth Snell (Stoke-on-Trent Central) and
:: Martin Whitfield (East Lothian).

The proposal was approved by 314 votes to 31, a majority of 283.

Labour also tabled an amendment which called for a rise in income tax to 45% on earnings above £80,000 and 50% for those on more than £125,000.

This was defeated by 313 votes to 246, a majority of 67.

Wrapping up the debate, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Lizz Truss poked fun at Labour splits on income tax.

Ms Truss said: “Even the shadow chancellor has welcomed our tax cuts.

“He has said that our measure will put more money in people’s pockets and it will inject more demand into the economy.

“It’s just a shame that his party don’t agree with him. You can almost hear Momentum sharpening their pitchforks.

“I want him to know that all is not lost because, shadow chancellor, you have friends on this side of the House and there is space for you on our frontbench.”

Ms Cooper, chairwoman of the home affairs select committee, said Prime Minister Theresa May had broken her promise to prioritise helping those who were just about managing”.

She said: “They’re going ahead with over £1bn in real cuts to tax credits and benefits this coming year for the poorest families.

“At the same time they are choosing to spend about the same amount of money on tax cuts for higher rate taxpayers, including those on more than £100,000 a year.

“A lone parent with a four-year-old working part-time could end up being nearly £3,000 worse off whereas the high earners end up being over £1,000 better off.”

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