Dozens of MPs come out to back Burnham over welfare vote “leadership”

Andy Burnham

Dozens of Labour MPs, some whom are backing Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader, have co-signed a letter to support Andy Burnham for showing leadership in the row over last night’s welfare vote. Burnham wanted Labour to oppose the bill at every vote, but eventually accepted the position to vote for a reasoned amendment and abstain after that failed to pass. However, he made no secret that he would have preferred a tougher stance.

Before the vote, he emailed every Labour MP to tell them he of his intentions, explaining that as a Shadow Cabinet member he felt bound by collective responsibility, and that it was a value aspiring leaders should not take lightly. “Collective responsibility is important and it is what I would expect as Leader of our Party”, he wrote. “It is why I will be voting for our Reasoned Amendment and, if it is defeated, abstaining on the Bill.”

In a further statement after the vote, he clarified that as leader the party would take further action to oppose the bill, saying: “Under my Leadership, Labour will oppose this Bill with everything we’ve got when it comes back before MPs later this year.”

19 of the MPs who signed the letter rebelled in last night’s welfare vote, while four nominated Jeremy Corbyn for leader. You can read the full letter below:

We are writing as MPs who voted last night to oppose the Government’s Welfare Bill, some by voting for the Labour amendment that said the Bill should be rejected and some by voting against the Bill when that amendment failed.

The debacle of last night must never be repeated.

We are grateful that Andy Burnham showed leadership in moving Labours position to an amendment opposing the Bill. He is clear, as we are clear that this Bill is regressive and hits working families and children.

Andy was right, as someone bound by the collective responsibility of the Shadow Cabinet, despite his personal opposition to the Bill, to abstain.  As someone who aspires to lead and unite our Party he was right not to lead a split in Labour, which would have weakened our ability to take the fight to the Tories.

The Parliamentary passage of this legislation has only just begun, this is not the end of the battle.  Andy has said that unless the Government make major changes, then as leader, he will oppose this Bill at every opportunity when it is considered by MPs in the Autumn.

He will have our whole-hearted support in doing so.

Yours sincerely

  1. Margaret Greenwood  
  2. Debbie Abrahams 
  3. Dave Anderson 
  4. Rachael Maskell 
  5. Ian Lavery 
  6. Peter Dowd 
  7. Gerald Jones 
  8. Ian Mearns 
  9. Jo Stevens 
  10. Iain Wright 
  11. Liz McInnes 
  12. Carolyn Harris 
  13. Andy McDonald
  14. Dawn Butler 
  15. Louise Haigh
  16. Tulip Siddiq
  17. Owen Smith  
  18. Michael Dugher
  19. Luciana Berger 
  20. Keir Starmer 
  21. Lucy Powell
  22. Anna Turley 
  23. Kevin Brennan 
  24. Bill Esterson 
  25. Pat Glass 
  26. Nia Griffith 
  27. Dan Jarvis 
  28. Barbara Keeley
  29. Ian Lucas
  30. Justin Madders
  31. Steve Rotheram
  32. Emma Lewell-Buck
  33. Paul Farrelly
  34. Nick Thomas-Symmonds
  35. Conor McGinn 
  36. Yvonne Fovargue
  37. Wayne David
  38. Kerry McCarthya
  39. Valerie Vaz
  40. Karl Turner
  41. Lillian Greenwood
  42. Clive Betts
  43. Mary Glindon
  44. Kate Osamor
  45. Harry Harpham
  46. Yasmin Qureshi
  47. Alan Whitehead

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