DUP set to back Labour motion on NHS pay cap

Henrietta Strickland
September 13, 2017

Theresa May's confidence and supply deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has been thrown into turmoil today as reports emerge suggesting the DUP will vote with Labour in blocking Tory plans to hike tuition fees to nearly £10,000 later this afternoon.

The Northern Ireland party's 10 MPs voted with Jeremy Corbyn's party for a "fair pay rise" for doctors and nurses who work in the NHS.

The Tories are now expected to sit in their hands in the two votes - allowing the motions to pass in the belief they do not bind the Government to act.

"It must apply to the whole of the public sector, including the 55 per cent of workers who are not covered by the pay review bodies".

Janet Davies, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "The Government saw the strength of opposition and backed away to avoid defeat".

"We had no difficulty voting that way, and the Government understood that is how we were going to vote".

DUP MPs helped to embarrass Theresa May this evening by siding with Labour on a motion against tuition fee rises.

"It is not part of the confidence and supply arrangements".

Speaking as MPs began the opposition day debate, he said: "I must say that myself and my colleagues are minded to support the motion".

It said the party's support on other issues would be decided on a "case-by-case basis" - making the agreement much weaker than a formal coalition.

So the House of Commons unanimously agreed to give NHS workers "a fair pay rise" with no noise being made by the Tories.

Conservative sources insisted they were "pretty relaxed" about the outcome of the debate, which does not require the Government to change policy.

On Tuesday, Downing Street confirmed the one percent limit on public sector pay rises is to be scrapped.

Number 10 said prison officers and police would receive raises above 1% for the first time since 2010, and that ministers were ready to show "flexibility" across the rest of the public sector for 2018/19.

As surprised MPs took in the decision, Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: "Is it not clear that the House has been unanimous in saying we should end the pay cap in the NHS?"

"It's extremely rare for the Government not to vote down an Opposition motion and the only explanation is it avoided a vote because it knew it would lose it", he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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