Government ‘must go’ if censure vote on former PM and chancellor lost, says Welsh MP
The Government should “go” if they lose a vote on a Labour motion to censure the former prime minister and chancellor, Welsh MP Chris Bryant said in the Commons today.
The motion would censure former prime minister Liz Truss and former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng “for their mismanagement of the economy while in office”.
Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng have “profited” from the “disastrous” mini-budget, Labour said, as it called on the Commons to back a call for them to waive their ministerial severance payments.
The motion was opened by Labour shadow communities secretary Lisa Nandy.
Rhondda MP Chris Bryant told the Commons: “Many people in the Rhondda who are losing their homes, either because buy-to-let mortgages have collapsed and people are selling, or because they can’t afford to pay their additional mortgage fees, are furious and scandalised that the people who brought this about are being rewarded with multi-thousand-pound payoffs.
“The Government may try to pretend that today’s motion is irrelevant, but will she [Lisa Nandy] confirm that in every single case in the past when a motion such as this of censure has been tabled, the Government has always sought to vote it down, not just run away, and sometimes it’s led either to people losing their salary, or resigning, or the Government falling?
“So, they can’t just pretend nothing is happening today. They’ve either got to vote it down, and if they lose, they go.”
Ms Nandy had told the House in part of her speech: “Today we are giving those benches the chance to set this right. To show whose side they are on.
“Are they on the side of the people that they put in office who walked away with ministerial severance payments and profited from the crisis that they’ve caused, or are they on the side of working people who are currently paying the price?”
Ms Nandy told the Commons she was “angry” and that the mini-budget was “disastrous” and “crashed the economy and sent interest rates soaring”, adding: “The Government has a clear choice today.
“They can stand up for people whose hopes and dreams have been broken and shattered, or they can stand with the former prime minister and former chancellor who have profited from a situation that has left families across this country paying the price for years and years and years and years to come.
“They cannot possibly turn up in this place on Thursday and tell us that this is about fairness and that they are on people’s sides if they don’t back this motion today.”
Housing minister Lucy Frazer was later heckled by opposition MPs as she claimed it was “wholly inaccurate” to blame the mini-budget for mortgage rate increases.
She told MPs: “I’d like to start by recognising, as the Prime Minister has done, mistakes have been made. Indeed, no government is immune from mistakes. But to suggest, as the Opposition has done, that these mistakes are the cause of a particular average increase in monthly mortgage rates is simply wholly inaccurate.
“Moreover, to say that is simply failing to be honest with the British people because as (Lisa Nandy) will know and ought to acknowledge, the economic downturn and consequent rise in interest rates have been caused by two major global events: the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. She knows that countries across the globe are grappling with the same issues we are here.”
SNP MP David Linden (Glasgow East), intervening, said: “Could I just bring her back to this planet and reality for a little minute. Does she not understand that after the mini-budget there was a run on pensions, the Bank of England had to step in as a result of the mini budget?”
Ms Frazer, in her reply, said: “I don’t accept that there was a run on pensions. I do accept mistakes were made but what I would say is the Prime Minister is focusing on putting the economy on a strong fiscal path, taking the necessary decisions.”
Labour MP Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) later accused Ms Frazer of “rewriting history”.
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