Doncaster Tory MP accuses Labour of ‘spreading misinformation’ on Universal Credit vote

Conservative Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher has accused Labour in a opposition day debate on Universal Credit cuts of ‘spreading misinformation’ to ‘grab headlines’.

Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 7:00 am

Labour put forward a motion in Parliament to stop the planned cuts of £20 per week to people receiving Universal Credit. The Government earlier on in the pandemic increased payments to help people during this difficult time.

The motion was carried as the vast majority of Tory MPs, including Mr Fletcher, abstained on the vote. Six of his party’s colleagues sided with Labour and rebelled.

The vote itself does not change the law itself but puts pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to change course.

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Conservative Nick Fletcher MP for Don Valley

The Prime Minister has refused to guarantee he will not end the £20-a-week uplift in – which is worth more than £1,000 a year for around six million families – in April, despite pressure from across Parliament to do so.

But Mr Fletcher said: “Again, the Labour Party is using one of its allocated opposition days to politicise a highly emotive issue and spread misinformation. Contrary to what Labour says, the Government has offered a considerable amount of support through the Universal Credit uplift and provided laptops during this crisis.

“This has been the right decision, as the pandemic has hit many families in Don Valley. Despite this, Labour continues to use opposition day motions to grab headlines and deliberately misinform the public. Whatever Labour says, children will continue to be offered support over the February half term through the Covid Winter Support scheme, and laptops will be provided to every child who needs one.

“Equally, Labour has said that the vote on its motion today is a “crunch vote”. Yet this is entirely false. The vote is on their opposition day motion, which is non-binding and cannot, therefore, change Government policy even if it is passed.”

Labour Thorne and Moorends councillor Mark Houlbrook tweeted: “The Conservatives have chosen to cut support for families in the middle of a pandemic by slashing Universal Credit.

“The UK has had the worst recession of any major economy on Boris Johnson’s watch – families are paying the price. Shame on you Nick Fletcher.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.