Labour to force vote to scrap latest tuition fee rise

Frederick Owens
September 14, 2017

Should the DUP rebel and vote with Labour, or even if they abstain, it could lead to an embarrassing defeat for the Government, which relies upon the Northern Irish party for a majority.

The government has been forced to back a Labour motion to give NHS workers a pay rise, after the Democratic Unionist Party signalled its support.

Ian Paisley confirmed to the Commons on Wednesday his party could support a Labour motion calling for an end to the public sector pay cap in the NHS and a "fair pay rise" for staff.

In a point of order following the debate, shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said it was "clear that the reason the government did not divide on this motion is because they knew they would lose".

It would have meant the first defeat for the Government since it took over after the General Election - highlighting Mrs May's vulnerability. This is why DUP is able to vote with the opposition in spite of its "confidence and supply" deal with the Conservative Party.

On Tuesday the government signalled an end to the public sector pay cap, but so far it has only announced pay rises - albeit below inflation - for the police and prison service.

The result of the votes will not be binding but is likely to increase pressure on the Prime Minister over public sector pay.

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"We had no difficulty voting that way, and the Government understood that is how we were going to vote".

Conservative sources said they were "pretty relaxed" about the outcome of the debate as it does not require the Government to change policy.

The Labour motion was backed by the DUP, with North Antrim MP Ian Paisley saying it sent out a "clarion call" on the issue of higher wages for doctors and nurses.

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb said: "The scrapping of the public sector pay cap is long overdue - this defeat should serve as a wake-up call". Police officers and police will enjoy raises above one percent for the first time since 2010, with May ready to show "flexibility" on pay for other public sector workers in 2018/19.

Union leaders and Labour said the pay cap should be lifted across the sector.

"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", he said.

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