By Rachael Grealish
Dr Neil Hudson and John Stevenson were two of the four Conservative MPs who voted against the upcoming Universal Credit cut.
Throughout the pandemic a £20 per week uplift was provided to those who receive Universal Credit, but with lockdown over the uplift is due to end this month.
On Wednesday, September 15, MPs voted 253-0 in favour of cancelling the cut, including four Tory MPs.
Dr Hudson, MP for Penrith and the Border, John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle, Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney and William Wragg, MP for Hazel Grove all went against the grain and vote with the Opposition motion.
Dr Hudson defended his decision saying it’s not ‘prudent to take money out of people’s pockets’ while the country is still recovering from the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, I think the government has found itself on the wrong side of this debate,” he said.
“The £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit has been a lifeline to many of my constituents throughout the pandemic and it would not be prudent to take money out of people’s pockets as the economy is still recovering from such a shock.
“I know that the government has suggested that we need to shift focus to getting people back to work but I think that misses the point that Universal Credit is both an in-work and out of work benefit, with 40 percent of claimants classed as being in employment.
“I will continue to make representations to my colleagues in government on this.”
The motion did pass because the government abstained on the vote meaning that 253 MPs voted for it and technically no MPs voted against.
It was a resolution of the House which expresses the will of the elected representatives but it cannot change the law or force the government to change the policy, due to being an opposition day vote – which is non-binding meaning the Prime Minister can go ahead with the original decision to make the cut.
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, also voted against the cut, but the other Conservative MPs (Trudy Harrison, Mark Jenkinson and Simon Fell) all abstained from the vote.
The Herdwick News has reached out to all the Cumbrian MPs for comment on their decision on the vote.