Tim Farron “set to vote against the “Bedroom Tax” while Swales, Mulholland, R Williams and Sanders table motion against it

From the Guardian‘s live politics blog (3:15)

Tim Farron, the Lib Dem president, is set to vote against the government on the bedroom tax tonight, I’m told. A friend of Farron’s tells me: “Party conference in Glasgow expressed its will very strongly against the bedroom tax and so Tim is listening to party members and will probably be voting against the government tonight. Tim is the voice of the party members, they have expressed their view and Tim wants to make sure that their voice is heard.”

Here’s the motion on the bedroom tax that the Lib Dems passed at their party conference (pdf). It criticised the policy, and called for an immediate review of its impact.

Tim is likely to vote for the Labour motion.

And at 4:18

Four Lib Dem MPs have tabled a Commons early day motion saying that the bedroom tax is a mistake and that, unless there are extensive changes – including a wider range of exemptions, and the removal of penalties from people who do not have the option of moving to a smaller home – it should be abolished.

Those MPs are Greg Mulholland, Ian Swales, Adrian Sanders and Roger Williams.

We’ll bring you more news as we get it.

Andrew George and Charles Kennedy have already said that they will be voting against the Government.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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68 Comments

  • Well done Tim! A see more of Charles in you by the day….

  • It’s a bit late now. Why on earth didn’t anyone in the leadership take note of these rather obvious defects in the idea before it saw the light of day? Incentivising people to do something they can’t do (i.e. moving homes for more “suitable” accommodation when there is none on offer) is really rather a daft idea.

  • Well done Tim. We need more MPs like you.

  • Leekliberal 12th Nov '13 - 5:46pm

    How about the Stockport initiative where I understand that this Lib Dem lead borough will not levy the under-occupancy charge where a tenant has indicated a willingness to move to a smaller property. The worst aspect of the charge is it’s imposition where there are no local smaller properties available for a tenant to move to. Also a question for Labour luvvies. If the principle behind this charge is so awful why did the Labour impose it on all those tenants in private lets?

  • David Allen 12th Nov '13 - 6:07pm

    I hope this isn’t another of these occasions when the party allows a few token rebels to speak up, while making sure that there aren’t enough of them to achieve anything.

  • Sadie Smith 12th Nov '13 - 6:08pm

    Yes, it is too blunt. But I am not sure how much Labour Councils have made it worse.
    I know that round here I successfully sold the idea of two (or one and a bit) bedroom bungalows to the then Cabinet member for Housing. We identified Council owned land and the extent to which it would free up some good family housing where I knew people were willing to move. All this about five years ago. Start was due April 2013. No sign and officers don’t know the answer.
    Stockport sounds sensible.

  • Agreed agcn – Many people on here say MP’s dont listen to conference. He seems to…and that is to his MASSIVE credit.

  • Stephen Hesketh 12th Nov '13 - 7:56pm

    Whilst freeing up larger homes for families is obviously a good idea, this is no way to achieve it. Thanks to Tim and our other MPs for standing up for party democracy, ‘a fairer society’ and plain common sense.

  • Max Wilkinson 12th Nov '13 - 8:09pm

    So how many Lib Dem rebels were there?

  • Max Wilkinson 12th Nov ’13 – 8:09pm

    So how many Lib Dem rebels were there?

    TWO!

  • daft ha'p'orth 12th Nov '13 - 8:30pm

    @P Benson
    “More than 30 Lib Dem MPs voted to uphold the government’s hated bedroom tax – despite their own party members having condemned the policy. Two MPs, Andrew George and Tim Farron, defied the coalition to vote in support of Labour’s motion to scrap the deductions for social tenants with spare bedrooms with “immediate effect”. Twenty-one Lib Dems did not vote at all tonight. It was unclear whether they abstained, or had a prior excuse for missing the vote.”

    I weep for the party.

    Actually, I don’t; I got over emotional reactions to LD decisions at around the time that they were all stomping around going ‘yeah but 9,000/y is actually really fair if you look at it from the right, y’know, perspective. I mean the cost per month is totally reasonable, yeah?’

    But I am sorry to hear it. And I see my own MP voted against the motion to scrap the Bedroom Tax. Wish I could say this came as an unpleasant surprise.

  • Julian Dean 12th Nov '13 - 8:38pm

    Good on Tim Farron and Andrew George but it’s not nearly enough to prevent the Lib Dem brand from becoming toxic.

  • So only Tim Farron & Andrew George had the guts to vote with Labour.

    Sad, very sad.

  • A Social Liberal 12th Nov '13 - 9:15pm

    I expected it, but nonetheless it is disheartening. Well done to the two liberal MPs

  • I really do question our political system. We have the lib dem mps on the whole ignoring their own party , not just on this issue but others as well. We have the labour leadership ignoring conference policy on re nationalising the railways and Royal Mail and the Tory leadership ignoring its members on europe.

    What is the point of belonging to a party and having a conference to make policy when the leadership of all three parties just ignore its own members whenever it sees fit. It really is no wonder that most of the public detest politicians and have no trust in any of the parties to deliver change.

    There has been much union bashing in the media in recent weeks but one thing is for sure, if union leaders ignored their own conference policies, those union leaders would be challenged at their next conference. Political parties on the other hand just shrug their shoulders and let their leaders do as they please. Politics in this country is at an all time low and whilst the three main parties can continue to ignore their own members it will only sink lower.

  • Paul in Twickenham 12th Nov '13 - 10:55pm

    2 MPs out of 57 voted as conference instructed them. What is the point of conference? Is it time to simply abandon the semblance of policy making and acknowledge that conference is just a series of set piece speeches and social events?

  • “The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity” …. Or not as the case appears to be.

  • Well done everyone. Well done. You must all be very proud. I mean this on top of the NHS vote and the mass abstention on the Jeremy Hunt vote, you guys are making it happen! Hope you’re all out celebrating tonight, you guys earned it!

  • If the Lib Dem MPs who had abstained had voted against the policy, there would have been a majority against it. Abstention thus amounts to a tacit endorsement.

    This is fine as it goes, MPs and political parties are free to vote as they wish in parliament.

    But why claim the Liberal Democrats are against the bedroom tax when they clearly aren’t? Votes at your party conference aren’t binding so are clearly just for show and aren’t relevant to party policy.

    Why not be honest about this?

  • I have given up all hope of my local LibDem Old Etonian MP ever doing the “right” thing when it comes to a vote. He seems to prefer to do the “right” thing and vote with his Old Etonian chums.

    Well done to Tim and Andrew, if only we had another 50 or so MP’s with your guts.

  • Helen Dudden 13th Nov '13 - 9:19am

    Tonight, we go to protest against the 2 million plus cuts in Children’s Services here in Bath.

    We have solar bins that cost several hundreds of pounds each, and yet the Lib Dems want to cut the services to children who are vulnerable.

    I am told by my Party that a debate was held and of course you voted against change.

    Congratulation, keep going.

  • Brian Swift 13th Nov '13 - 9:21am

    Thank heavens we have the Lib Dems to water down the more extreme policies of the Tories…oh hang on, as you were.

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 13th Nov '13 - 9:32am

    It is a sad day when Liberal Democrat MP’s choose acquiescence and/or expedience over the core principles of the Party.

    At least Andrew George MP remains committed to a liberal ethos and voted against this cruel policy stating:

    “The fact is that this spare room penalty, or the bedroom tax, victimises the most marginalised in our communities, undermines family life, penalises the hard-working low-paid for being prepared to stomach low-paid work, masks the excessive cost and disruption to those disabled who have to move from expensively adapted homes and is, in my view, Dickensian in its social divisiveness. It is an immoral policy.”

    When will our MP’s return to the Liberal Democrat Party?

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 13th Nov '13 - 10:02am

    @Leekliberal

    “Also a question for Labour luvvies. If the principle behind this charge is so awful why did the Labour impose it on all those tenants in private lets?”

    Answer: unlike the the Lib Dem’s loathsome Bedroom Tax it wasn’t retrospective.

    Yesterday 252 Tory and Lib Dem MPs voted to keep the heartless Bedroom Tax. 375,000 children in poverty will suffer as a result of their vote. 420,000 disabled people will be worse off as a result of their vote. The Bedroom tax will become synonymous to future generations with the vindictive Tory Means Test and people’s pianos.

    If people were forced to leave their homes because of their race or ethnicity the Liberal Democrats would be the first to start screaming about an abuse of civil liberties. But under a Liberal Democrat government the poor and the disabled obviously are second class humans and have no rights or liberties. I salute you, Tim Farron and Andrew George for refusing to be associated with your party’s cultural apartheid.

  • Helen Dudden 13th Nov '13 - 10:03am

    Never will they return, or they may never wish to return.

    As I write on childrens issues, I have found your Party simply not interested. They change sides and ditch what they believed in, to find favor with those who hold the upper hand.

    Where are the principles and the moral standards, I thought was appreciated by your Party?

    I think we have made a return to standards long forgotten.

    I say to my own MP, Don Foster, Don where are you?

  • @Helen Dudden: Helen – are you confused? This is Lib Dem Voice. Labour Party members like you have your own website , an ideas free zone, but all your own. Goodbye! Incidentally, the Labour Party over 13 years in majority Government managed to WIDEN the gap between rich and poor while attacking civil liberties and fighting an illegal war! Labour also left an appalling financial mess for the Coalition to tackle. I find your faith in Labour touching!

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) says “Also a question for Labour luvvies. If the principle behind this charge is so awful why did the Labour impose it on all those tenants in private lets?” Answer: unlike the the Lib Dem’s loathsome Bedroom Tax it wasn’t retrospective.

    So now we know your view that if some legislation is wrong it’s OK if it’s not made retrospective. You couldn’t make it up!

  • Paul in Twickenham 13th Nov '13 - 10:34am

    @Leekliberal – so on the basis of your comment there is no difference between (for example) reducing the value of all future pension benefits to state-school teachers by 10%, and reducing existing teachers’ pensions by the same amount?

  • Leekliberal, just a thought. Given the relative polling differences between Labour and the Lib Dems, shouldn’t you be trying to attract their voters to your party, not scaring them off?

  • daft ha'p'orth 13th Nov '13 - 10:36am

    @Leekliberal
    Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are
    And if you read the full comment policy, you will see:
    We welcome comments from all our readers, whether you are a Lib Dem or a supporter of other parties, or none at all.
    Hope that clarifies things.

    As for widening gaps between rich and poor, fighting illegal wars, appalling financial messes: pot, meet kettle.

  • Wonder what the local electorate will think our housing policy is. MP votes for the ‘bedroom tax’, LibDem run council starts a consultation on a housing plan and the ward Focus adds to a campaign against the plan because it encroaches on Green Belt. Perhaps I should login as Confused of Cheltenham!

  • Thank goodness that two of our MPs had the decency and courage to vote to abolish the iniquitous and inequitable bedroom tax. Shame on those LibDems who either voted with the government or, worse still, skulked and sulked elsewhere.

  • Let’s keep quiet until the fuss has died down about this, and then we can patiently explain our Lib Dem master strategy once again. The point is that we can achieve real influence within Coalition by showing loyalty and then quietly whispering a few well-chosen words into Cameron’s ear. This is far more effective than grandstanding, playing to the gallery, voting down policies we don’t like and acting as an awkward squad. If we did that, we would alienate Cameron and make it less likely that he will offer us a renewed Coalition after 2015, which of course is what we want.

    So, let’s trumpet the virtues of effective co-operation within the Coalition. Then, we can base our electoral strategy on the word “No”, which Nick should endlessly repeat in all his speeches. We can demonstrate effectively that it is our opposition that has saved the nation from a multitude of unacceptable Conservative policies. All we need is a slogan that sums it all up. How about “We Said No – By Saying Yes!”

    Hang on, Microsoft LogicCheck seems to be underlining my entire paragraph. What is wrong? Why are those men in white coats coming for me? Help! Where are my well-paid PR advisers when I need them?

  • Cards on the table – I am a Labour party member. What interests me about this vote is that some LibDem MPs actually voted in line with the policy you activists committed the party to – abolish the tax. Because lets be honest your MPs vote more loyally for Tory policies like this than Tory MPs do (contrast how many rebellions you have vs Tory backbenchers).

    So why did Farron vote against, why did Clegg and Alexander abstain? The only conclusion I can draw is positioning for the next leadership election. Farron portrays himself as principled (despite voting to cut disability benefits, telling me on twitter that in doing so he was “acting for the interests of the Disabled in government”) so has an anti-vote to refer to. Clegg and Beaker abstaining – is that so he can put up some defence against the inevitable challenge? OK so they are government ministers and collective responsibility applies.

    But at some point before the election your party will have to show its distinctiveness vs the Tories, and that means voting against them on some things.

    Your party leader couldn’t vote against the government in line with his party’s policies as mandated by you the activists. Can’t you launch a no-confidence motion against him? Otherwise whats the point in you having any say over policies if your own leader willfully ignores you?

  • There needs to be a separation of two issues here. The first is the politics of the bedroom tax and the bedroom tax itself.

    With the politics of the bedroom tax – Labour is playing a political game which has little to do with the issue itself. Hearing the cynical comments and crocodile tears of most Labour MPs is distasteful. Hand on heart, I have heard my Labour MP speak on the issue and I know she is not genuine.

    On the issue itself, the benefit change is a blunt instrument and Lib Dems should not be supporting a move that makes life difficult for those who most need it. I do think across the board our MPs have pushed and advocated policies that do reduce social inequality. On this one, they got it wrong.

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 13th Nov '13 - 1:54pm

    @Leekliberal

    “So now we know your view that if some legislation is wrong it’s OK if it’s not made retrospective. You couldn’t make it up!”

    Just to clarify, I am completely opposed to all forms of the Bedroom Tax whether it be in the private or public sector. I was simply pointing out to you that the Liberal Democrats’ version of this unnecessary and punitive tax has been compounded by being made retrospective. Ed Miliband is committed to abolishing this loathsome tax and so am I.

    Perhaps you could now explain to me why it was perfectly acceptable for virtually all Lib Dem MPs to vote for the Bedroom Tax which victimises the poor but it wasn’t acceptable for them to vote for the Mansion Tax when Labour gave them the opportunity. After all, the Mansion tax was, and still is, I believe, your party’s policy, As your party handed so many millionaires thousands of pounds in tax relief the electorate must only conclude that the Liberal Democrats regard it as O.K. to squeeze the poor financially but not the rich. Perhaps that is why the latest YouGov Poll for the Sun shows Labour at 42%, Conservatives at 32%, UKIP at 10% and Lib Dems at 8%

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 13th Nov '13 - 2:19pm

    @Jeff Evans

    “Hearing the cynical comments and crocodile tears of most Labour MPs is distasteful.”

    No, what is distasteful is that cynical remark which, I am afraid, only reveals your collossal ignorance of what is actually going on on the ground and the impoverishing effects of the Bedroom Tax on people who already live on the breadline. Are you suggesting that all those individual stories about the hardships suffered by ordinary people as a consequence of the Liberal Democrats’ appalling tax on their bedrooms are false, inauthentic, fabricated? Created by Labour simply to play a political game? You obviously don’t know any socialists.

    In order to enlighten you I provide some links that may cause you to reflect on the insensitivity of your comments.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bedroom-tax-personal-petitions-heartbreaking-1932224

    http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Horror-stories-emerge-bedroom-tax-victims/story-19692671-
    detail/story.html#axzz2kXCxQlKK

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/tenant-slits-wrist-housing-office-2237582

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bedroom-tax-payday-loan-firms-1926746

    These are just the tip of the iceberg. And, by the way, it is not only labour MPs who are hearing from constituents driven to desperation by the Bedroom Tax. Labour MPs, unlike the Liberal Democrats and their friends, the Tories, actually care about these poor people.

  • Everyone makes a fuss about this, but it has popular support, people don’t want to be subsidizing others to live in housing they can’t afford.

    You can whine about “fairness”, and describe heartbreaking tales of poor people being thrown out on the streets in attempts at social cleansings, how well has that worked so far?

    Oh, not very well.

    Maybe the parties that “oppose” it should accept the reality, and instead spend their energy on reforming it, or fixing it, or whatever.

    The reality is, the public support it’s principle, and are not going to ditch it because of how it’s been poorly practiced.

  • Leekliberal 13th Nov '13 - 2:37pm

    Mack (Not a Lib Dem) says’As your party handed so many millionaires thousands of pounds in tax relief’ Are you referring to the Coalition’s reduction to 45% of Labour’s imposition of the 50% income tax rate on incomes over £150k. How quickly you forget that the 50% rate applied for just 6 weeks of Labour’s 13 years in power! You also ignore the huge rise in the income tax threshold to £10000 thanks to the Lib Dems.

  • daft ha'p'orth 13th Nov '13 - 3:09pm

    @fake
    You mean: the DWP paid for a poll (Aug 23-28) which said that just over half of respondents agreed with the idea, until they were given further information about it, at which point the ‘yes to bedroom tax’ group became a minority.

    On the other hand, ComRes ran a poll in September. In theirs, 59% of respondents stated that the policy should be altogether abandoned. From their poll digest: “Opposition to the ‘Bedroom Tax’ has grown over the last few months, with 59% of the general public now agreeing the ‘Bedroom Tax’ should be abandoned – up from 51% of the public in April.” Of course, as further data is gathered showing the effects of the policy, public opinion may well firm up further.

    It’s actually pretty amazing that the numbers don’t show broad support for the measure, since a YouGov poll also shows that the general public is extremely misinformed about benefits, believing that ‘41% of Britain’s welfare budget goes on benefits to unemployed people’, ‘27% of the welfare budget is claimed fraudulently’ and so forth. A mildly encouraging sign.

  • You’ve kind of proved my point daft.

    People agreed with it, untill it was explained how badly it would be implimented.

    If people are given a choice between how it’s been implemented, and not at all, it should be telling that still a lot of people vote to keep it as it is.

    People are resenting paying for others to have what they can’t afford themselves, getting rid of this “tax” will not fix that, there are problems here that need to be dealt with, and the solution is not “build more houses”.

  • daft ha'p'orth 13th Nov '13 - 4:53pm

    @fake
    This blog post says it fairly well.

    What the survey reveals is that people have a […] nuanced approach to the problem. [W]hilst 54% of the public do not think it is very ‘fair’ that some people have more bedrooms than they need […] a far larger majority of people believe the measures being taken to address this are unfair. It is quite possible to think that some people having bedrooms they don’t need is probably a bit unfair and yet still be strongly opposed to crude measures like the Bedroom Tax to address this disparity. And that is what the results of this survey seem to suggest.

    Sure, some manifestations of the principle could potentially enjoy some level of popular support, if implemented quite differently. And why shouldn’t it? If a well-written piece of legislation were developed, enabling individual councils to make use of various measures in a responsible and contextually appropriate manner, developing and applying policies tailored for available housing and needs of local inhabitants,then it could be a very sensible move. It would, however, look and act nothing like the present Bedroom Tax, which is a crudely designed headline-grabbing tone-deaf piece of… work.

  • Simon Bamonte 13th Nov '13 - 5:08pm

    It is depressing to no end to see several people defending the LibDems continual support of the bedroom tax by saying “Labour did bad things in the past.” As if that makes everything ok. Never mind that conference voted to end this policy as soon as possible. Never mind that most of the people being hit by this nasty, regressive tax are some of the most vulnerable in this country – people LibDems used to be proud to support. I’ve come to the conclusion that most LD MPs simply don’t care about the poorest and those who cannot stand up for themselves. Now it’s all about appeasing the Tories and doing everything you can to form a second coalition with them. And I know there are people who say Labour are just shedding “crocodile tears” (echoing the words a Tory MP said during the debate yesterday – what company!), that most of them are just being opportunists who don’t really care about those people whose lives this policy is destroying. Or that Labour are simply “playing political games”. So it’s all a game to you, then, yes? Labour are bad, so therefore our badness is ok. So that excuses LibDem MPs from voting with their conscience. So there you have it..the majority of LibDem MPs and loyalist supporters will come up with any excuse now to defend this nasty bit of social engineering.

    Meanwhile the government is giving money to those who can afford a mortgage with thousands of pounds for their deposits. They say politics is all about priorities. Well, this party’s priorities are definitely showing now.

    It is pretty evident that since most of those on the left of the party have gone, this party is now pretty much one for the comfortable middle-classes and well-off who don’t like the Tories’ occasional sexism, racism or homophobia. It’s clear that most of the austerity measures aren’t affecting you lot. So many of you talk about the bedroom tax, for example, as an abstract – something that is happening to other people while you sit comfortably and defend the indefensible. I got mine, I’m alright, Jack.

    I’m glad I’ve left this party if this is the type of people who remain.

  • Someone posted links to the real harm this is doing to real people – this policy is callous.

    But never mind that, this policy is also economically illiterate. The private sector bedroom tax worked because of the large numbers of homes available for people to move into – on shorter contracts and more supply you can move people around.

    In the public sector there simply aren’t homes to move into. If people do move, its into the private sector where rent for a smaller home is significantly more. We pay the housing benefit, therefore there is an oncost to the taxpayer. I read an alarming stat saying that something like 30% of people affected were disabled, and that means housing adaptations which have to be ripped out and reinstalled at significant cost to the tax payer.

    Or, people can not move, not find the extra money, and get evicted. At which point the council has to provide emergency accomodation at massive cost to the taxpayer. Why? because in most of the country there is a long waiting list for public sector housing due to the almost total lack of private sector affordable housing. There are no surplus homes to move people into, which means the basic premise of the policy doesn’t work. When all of the homes in parts of the country are declared too large for the people who want to rent them, we now have the madness of housing associations unable to rent perfectly good social housing and contemplating demolition.

    The policy is stupid. It does the opposite of what it was supposed to do in that it costs money rather than saving money. And it creates misery and suffering for the poor sods it affects. It was pretty widely commented on by the people who work in the sector that this would be the result, so noone can say its a surprise. And so the policy was created anyway and your MPs have backed it repeatedly.

    The Tories have done so because they like human misery – kick people for profit. As I understand it LibDems are not in favour of such things – at least thats what party spokespeople, your last manifesto and your party policy all say. yet your MPs vote for it repeatedly.

    I just wonder why that is. At the election people will once again have a choice between a Tory government and a Labour government. If they like kicking the poor they’ll vote Tory. If they don’t like it, they’ll vote Labour. Why would they vote LibDem? When your MPs vote more loyally for Tory policies that Tory MPs, where is the point of difference? I suspect that most of you know this, hence the roar of discontent that I read on here. So as your MPs and leader seem intent on ignoring you, when will you do something about it?

  • @Mack

    “No, what is distasteful is that cynical remark which, I am afraid, only reveals your collossal ignorance of what is actually going on on the ground and the impoverishing effects of the Bedroom Tax on people who already live on the breadline”.

    You evidently didn’t read or choose to read my second paragraph. I do know a number of ‘socialists’ and I use that word loosely because they actually show very little sympathy or indeed show a certain contempt for people that they purport to represent. At the end of the day, what was played in the commons was a political game and manipulated by Labour. What it didn’t achieve was to make a difference to those individuals where it mattered.

  • Helen Dudden 13th Nov '13 - 5:25pm

    Leekliberal I have a Lib Dem MP Don Foster who openly welcomed the vote, in the online version of the Bath Chronicle

    Your party has no interest in problems with children as I have said before. I do make comments on the Labour Party pages, I have also consulted on children’s law. But the problems remain with the MP we have.

    Don, does not listen, he now is busy being a whip. How frustrating for those of us with problems.

    i take your comments on board, get rid of the Lib Dem MP and this should make things easier this end.

  • Jeff Evans, so labour were playing a game and it made no different to those affected. Ok , now tell me what the lib dem plan is to make a difference to those suffering because of this policy.

  • Simon Bamonte 13th Nov '13 - 5:31pm

    @Jeff Evans:
    At the end of the day, what was played in the commons was a political game and manipulated by Labour.

    So you personally know the motivations of every Labour MP who voted to end the bedroom tax? You are certain that it is all a game to them, right? Because obviously they all could care not one jot for these vulnerable people (because, as you told us, you know some socialists who don’t care for the poor, so you must be right). And it was most definitely not a game to the LibDem MPs who see it as “Labour opportunism” and voted to continue this horrid policy. Do you think Mr. Farron was playing games as well since he did the honourable thing and voted with his conscience? Or are you such a tribalist that you sincerely believe everything the Opposition does is a game? And if so, do you think everything the LibDems did whilst in opposition was a game as well? Or does that not apply to your tribe?

    What it didn’t achieve was to make a difference to those individuals where it mattered.

    No, it didn’t achieve anything practical. Because LibDems voted for the policy and decided that Labour, en masse, were playing games and therefore were excused from using their conscience. Might I also add, they voted for the policy in the face of the way conference voted. But it definitely isn’t a game for LibDems, oh no. You stood up for your principles and voted to…continue to hammer the poorest and most vulnerable. Well, at least that’s true to form since 2010, eh?

    No wonder people are so disillusioned with politics. It’s all a tribal game to you lot. One you’re playing with other peoples’ lives. Charming.

  • Leekliberal 13th Nov '13 - 5:47pm

    @Helen Duddon says’ get rid of the Lib Dem MP and this should make things easier this end.’ As Labour will do well to save their deposit at the next GE in Bath you are obviously hoping to have a Tory MP. This would serve you right but it would be at cost of the disadvantaged. Be careful what you wish for!

  • Peter Andrews 13th Nov '13 - 6:16pm

    I know Greg Mulholland was at an important constituency meeting last night so could not make the vote but would have voted against the Government if he were there but as it was an opposition motion so winning would not actually affect the implementation of this policy the meeting was more important to attend than the vote. This is why he signed the EDM to demonstrate his opposition publicly.

  • The DWP released figures today show that in August 523,000 claimants were affected by the bedroom tax.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-housing-benefit-claimants-and-average-weekly-spare-room-subsidy-amount-withdrawal

    On the MP’s that didn’t vote – some will have been on other business but mainly it is, as I understand it, because of ‘pairing’ which is a system used in Parliament on votes that aren’t under a 3-line whip.

    http://www.parliament.uk/site-information/glossary/pairing/

    I do wonder what will happen in 2015 if the electorate return a hung Parliament & the only stable govt is one between Labour & the LibDems – will all the policies agreed with over the 2010-15 period suddenly be abused in the same way as Labour proposals currently are.

  • Passing through 13th Nov '13 - 7:48pm

    @Leekliberal

    “you are obviously hoping to have a Tory MP”

    With the LDs continuing to vote for things like the Bedroom Tax, I and many other potential LD voters are struggling to see what practical difference it makes whether the Tory who wins wears a yellow rosette or a blue one. At least the Blue Tory backbenchers occasionally rebel on matters of conscience.

    Until the LDs wake up to how damaging their continuing, baffling loyalty to Cameron, Gove and Osborne is they’ll continue to scrape along in the polls in the single digits.

  • I think those who have linked the 4 MPs who put forward their EDM to the effect that there should be and end to this iniquitous tax without major changes with those who meekly voted to support it, are being more than a bit unfair. I assume the exemptions they were looking for were to encompass disability needs, access for children who do not always live with the parent concerned etc. Many people, and many Councils have tried over many years to free up underoccupied property, and if there is a local reason and need, we should still help that process. It is the crude, undiscriminating, ineffective nature of the bedroom tax which makes it so appalling. Lib Dem MPs who meekly supported it should hang their heads in shame. Those of us who are members will have received David Laws’s email about participating in manifesto preparation. I am sorry, while David is in charge of this process, I cannot get involved.

  • Helen Dudden 13th Nov '13 - 9:06pm

    I agree with the last post. This is not political. I have just returned from a council meeting in Bath on the subject of cutting Childrens Services. Again, politics was mentioned, actually I consult on children problems, and that is where my heart belongs.

    Don Foster MP, remains adamant he supports the action with out any second thoughts. To me that attitude just seems unthinkable. I care about all children who are struggling in the world.

    If you vote someone in to have a voice for you, and then that voice turns against you and seems as though it simply matters little on the consequences.

  • Better late than never, so well done.
    but please stop with the myth that labour imposed anything like the bedroom tax on private tenants. Their policy was based housing costs, not the number of spare rooms and was not retrospective, .

  • Most Liberal Democrat members will not comment here. I doubt that there are many who will have wholeheartedly welcomed the votes of all but 2 Liberal Democrat MPs on the bedroom tax.
    The majority of Liberal Democrat MPs who during the years of this coalition have voted in parliament as they have on nuclear power, top down NHS reorganisation, bombing Syria, student loans, etc seem to be doing exactly the opposite of what I have campaigned for during my 40 plus years in the party.
    Was I a fool to believe them before the 2010 general election and all the previous general elections?

  • Helen Dudden 14th Nov '13 - 7:10am

    I was a Lib Dem for over 21 years. I support children’s issues, and write on the subject of law and children.

    As I stated before, I find what is happening heart breaking.

  • I think the LD party needs to step back and take a breath, the party is in government and like it or lump it the party will be held responsible alongside the Conservatives, trying to make excuses like we curbed the Tories is not really going to wash.

    The real problem is whenever the LD MPs abstain they are allowing policies that are affecting the most vulnerable in society, do you really think to distance the LD party by claiming we abstained…
    There is an old saying…
    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing.

    I cannot forgive or forget when the party MPs do just this, and vulnerable people suffer as a result. I suspect many voters will take the same view…

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 14th Nov '13 - 2:20pm

    @John Tilley.

    “Was I a fool to believe them before the 2010 general election and all the previous general elections?”

    You were not alone. They have made fools of all of us, particularly people like me, on the left. It has taken a long period in government to expose what the Liberal Democrats really stand for as opposed to what they pretended to stand for. But we won’t be taken for fools next time.

  • First, the bedroom tax is a pretty woeful peice of law – and I make no defence of it or those who voted for it.

    Secondly, I am not going to even attempt to suggest Labour’s failings justify our own.

    However, I think it should be noted that many Liberal Democrat Councils and constituency focused MPs are working hard to mitigate the effects of this woeful legislation.

    Whilst the cynical grandstanding in Westminster is deplorable to say the least and we should not be quiet about condemning it, we should also now make sure that we do all we can to help mitigate it affects and place a spotlight on those who are supporting where hurts people the most, on the ground.

  • Shame Eric Avebury is no longer an MP. This is what he said i April this year here in Liberal Democrat Voice –

    By Eric Avebury | Tue 2nd April 2013 – 1:04 pm
    The bedroom tax, which kicks in this month, affects 660,000 lower income householders. One spare bedroom means a loss of £624 pa housing benefit, two means you lose £1,144. If you take in a lodger to make up the loss, any rent you get over £20 a week is docked £ for £ from your benefits. In many areas you can’t move, because there are no smaller properties available.

    The benefit cap, starting in four councils this month, rolling out countrywide in September, cuts the yearly income of 56,000 poor families by an average of £4,836 (USDAW Parliamentary briefing).

    Fuel poverty in the UK is the worst of any country in Europe. Five million households need to spend more than 10% of their income on keeping warm. As energy costs rise and benefits go down, there’s no chance of improvement in the offing.

    Council tax benefit has been cut by 10% and passed to local authorities to administer, loading fresh burdens on them, instead of being incorporated in Universal Credit.

    Will the victims of benefit cuts be able to get advice? Not to contest the amount they get paid; legal aid for benefits, as well as for housing, debt, divorce, education and employment has all been stopped. The Citizens’ Advice Bureaux budget for those cases has been slashed from £22 million to £3 million.

    The Children’s Society reveals that 1.2 million school age children in poverty aren’t getting free school meals, 700,000 because they aren’t even entitled to them.

    At the same time the Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill comes into force, under which almost two thirds of the money saved comes from the poorest households. According to the Department for Work and Pensions, the effect of the Bill is to increase child poverty by 200,000 children. The Institute of Fiscal Studies estimates that by 2015/16 there will be 300,000 more children in poverty than today.

    How did Liberal Democrats allow this situation to develop?

  • Euan Davidson 16th Nov '13 - 11:27pm

    All the people commenting on here saying that our MP’s ignored conference by voting for the Bedroom Tax are wrong, we only voted at conference to review the charge not scrap it.

  • Helen Dudden 17th Nov '13 - 10:53am

    Well it makes the Government 8 million pounds a week. I would say things must be desperate taking from those who find is so difficult to pay.

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