The Scottish National Party have said that they should be the official opposition in light of Labour’s abstention on the Government’s welfare cuts.
Pete Wishart, the SNP’s shadow leader of the House of Commons, raised an official point of order with the Speaker of the House of Commons.
“Is there anybody that could help me … rearrange the furniture of this House so that we become the official opposition?” he asked.
The Speaker John Bercow cracked a small smile at the gag, responding:
“Notwithstanding the earnest expression on the face of the honourable gentleman, his point of order was cheeky and tendentious,” Mr Bercow said.
The SNP voted against the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill. Labour abstained on the main vote for the second reading of the bill.
The main changes in the Bill are reducing the household welfare cap from £26,000 to £23,000, abolishing legally binding child poverty targets, cuts to child tax credits, cuts to Employment and Support Allowance, and cuts to housing benefit for young people.
Labour says it supports the benefit cap and cuts to mortgage support but not disability benefit cuts or the repeal of child poverty targets.
Labour’s leadership recommended an abstention against the bill as a whole, though a group of 48 rebel MPs backed an alternative motion that wholly opposed the package.
A total of 184 Labour MPs voted with their leadership to abstain.Reuse content