Who are the Lib Dem welfare rebels?
Four Lib Dems, including Sarah Teather and Julian Huppert, voted against the bill and two abstained.
As expected, the coalition's Welfare Uprating Bill, which introduces a 1 per cent cap on benefit increases for each of the next three years, passed comfortably in the Commons last night, with MPs voting in favour of the bill by 324 to 268, a majority of 56. There was, however, a small but notable Lib Dem rebellion.
Four of the party's 57 MPs - Julian Huppert, John Leech, Sarah Teather, David Ward - voted not to give the bill a second reading, while Andrew George and Charles Kennedy formally abstained by voting in both lobbies. Of these six, three - George, Huppert and Kennedy - voted against Labour's amendment to introduce a jobs guarantee for the long-term unemployed, while the others abstained.
Three senior Lib Dems - Norman Baker, Lynne Featherstone and Chris Huhne - did not take part in the vote.
Below is a full guide to how the rebels voted and their reasons for doing so. Four of the MPs in question - Huppert, Leech, Teather and Ward - appear on Labour's new target list of 106 seats. The Conservatives intend to target 20 Lib Dem seats at the general election but haven't yet released a full list.
Andrew George (St Ives)
In his speech in the Commons, he said: "We do not know…what food price inflation will be in, for example, 2016. We are being asked to predict what the circumstances will be in the context of the rather arbitrary figure of 1%. I simply urge my right hon. Friend to keep an open mind, and to have a means by which we will uprate that is fair to both benefit recipients and those in work"
Julian Huppert (Cambridge)
Labour target 103
He tweeted last night: "I just voted against the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill 2nd Reading. Vulnerable people need support."
Charles Kennedy (Ross, Skye and Lochaber)
He tweeted last night: "I formally abstained frm voting for a 2nd reading and am looking now to work with like-minded Lib Dems to amend the bill in its later stages."
John Leech (Manchester Withington)
Labour target 31
In a blog entitled "Why I will be a rebel tonight", Leech wrote:
"I find it objectionable that the Tories are ramping up the “Skivers Vs Strives” rhetoric to justify a benefit cut to 7 million working families.
If you are one of those 7 million, you have made your choice to work. You should be encouraged by the system, whether that be through benefits or tax breaks. That is why I strongly support rises in the tax threshold.
I accept the system should be simple, transparent and easy to understand. And it certainly isn’t now. But a cut to these working families will wipe out most of the gains these families will see through increases to their tax allowances.
And that is why I will be rebelling tonight."
Sarah Teather (Brent East)
Labour target 23
In her speech in the Commons, she said: "Percentages do not buy milk, bread or school uniforms—pounds and pennies buy those things, and it is in pounds and pennies that people will experience a cut.
"I do not enjoy voting against my own party, and I cannot vote for the Labour amendment, but with a very heavy heart I shall be voting against the Second Reading of the Bill. I hope that I, and any others who choose that course of action, will give the Government some cause for thought and reflection."
David Ward (Bradford East)
Labour target 10
In his speech in the Commons, he said: "I suspect, deep down, that far too many people on this side of the House believe that unemployed people are the undeserving poor, that they need to sort themselves out, and that we cannot possibly reward them with an increase. Let us remember, too, that this is not an increase. When inflation is taken into account, the measure will simply freeze the level of benefits that we have already decided will provide people with a minimum standard of living. The measure is not fair, and I will not support it."
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