Labour voted against the health and care bill, but it passed by 294 votes to 244. “We still believe this is a wrong bill, at the wrong time,” Jonathan Ashworth told MPs. The vote last night followed the showdown over changes to the care costs cap on Monday, which only narrowly saw the government plan prevail. “Those with the wealthiest estates, with more expensive houses, will see a greater proportion of their assets protected,” the Shadow Health Secretary added. “That cannot be fair and although the Secretary of State, who was working the phones yesterday, may have won the battle, I daresay there are further skirmishes ahead.” The Labour frontbencher is probably right. The Lords is likely to send the controversial proposal, which would see Boris Johnson break his manifesto promise that nobody will have to sell their home to pay for care, back to the Commons. This is a headache for the Prime Minister as, although the government is likely to get its way in the end, the parliamentary ‘ping pong’ will mean the issue is highlighted again.
This is just one of Johnson’s problems this week. The Guardian reports that frustrations are growing in the Treasury at No 10’s handling of political decisions, following a series of mismanaged announcements, backbench revolts and the bizarre Peppa Pig episode. Conservative MPs are unhappy, too. They have begun to send letters of no confidence to 1922 committee chair Graham Brady. Generous reports put the number at a dozen: as 54 are needed to trigger a confidence vote, Johnson is not in danger. The submissions are, at this point, strongly worded letters urging the Prime Minister to switch track rather than a step to actually ending his time in Downing Street. It is notable, however, that letters of no confidence are in the news for the first time in his premiership. His key selling point, being a ‘winner’, seems more in doubt than it ever has been.
A British government should remain neutral in the event of a referendum on a united Ireland, according to Louise Haigh MP yesterday. Speaking to GB News, the Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary said: “I believe in the union, I believe we’re stronger together… but it is a crucial element that has sustained peace is the principle of consent.” This is different to Keir Starmer’s own comments on the issue earlier this year, in which the Labour leader said he would “make a strong case for the United Kingdom”.
Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy has been told not to bring her baby into debates. After appearing in Westminster Hall with her son on Tuesday, the Labour MP received an email from Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing saying that this was not in line with parliamentary rules. Creasy tweeted: “Mothers in the mother of all parliament are not to be seen or heard it seems.” Meanwhile, Liz Kendall has announced that she will be temporarily stepping back from her parliamentary duties next year as she becomes a mum. She has also been serving as the shadow minister for social care. The LabourList team sends its congratulations. Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.