Bunking Off? ZERO Labour MPs Take Part In Final Parliamentary Debate Before Bank Holiday Weekend
The majority of MPs left work early this Thursday ahead of key local elections across England, not particing in a debate on the National Living Wage – an issue whick Labour has been particularly vocal on.
The debate – which began at 1:30pm on Thursday – was led by SNP MP David Linden who called for the living wage to be an entitlement for all 25-year-olds.
However, he was almost alone in the chamber, where virtually all of his MP colleges from the Labour benches had left early.
Not a single Labour MP spoke in the debate, despite the fact that the living wage is a key policy area of Labour’s which they seek to use to build votes in many working-class communities.
Noting the extraordinarily low turnout for the deabte, Linden joked: “Thank you very much madam deputy speaker, and I hope you are comfortable for my four-hour speech that will follow because I intend to take up to 5.30pm.
“Don’t worry I can see some people panicking, I will not do that.”
Speaking on the matter at hand – Linden said: “I want to convince the Minister today that the UK Government should take a different path and instead follow the lead of the SNP Scottish Government.
“Because our Fair Work Agenda isn’t just warm words, it’s concrete action to lift people out of poverty and into prosperity.”
However, defending government policy, Conservative Under-Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Andrew Griffiths said: “There have been specific minimum wage rates in one form or another since the national minimum wage was introduced by the then Labour Government in 1999.
“Low paid rates have always been in place for younger workers. The reason for this is because the priority for younger workers is to secure work and gain experience.
“A higher minimum wage for young people could adversely affect employment levels for this group by dissuading employers from taking on less experienced workers.
“I thought it was remarkable for the 17 or so minutes the member for Glasgow East spoke on this issue, he failed once to mention the facts, the actual unemployment rates among young workers.
“Unemployment for young workers is higher than for older workers.”