Labour vote against more IMF funding raises questions

 

Amidst all the sound and fury around the hacking scandal, another rather very interesting event passed almost unnoticed in the Commons yesterday.

Up on the Committee corridor MPs approved a Statutory Instrument authorising the near doubling of the UK's subscription to the International Monetary Fund from £10.7 billion to £20.15 billion.* The interesting point? Labour voted against.

Shadow Treasury Minister Chris Leslie argued the UK should balance its commitment to supporting the world economy with its domestic woes - and added that he was worried about the risk being taken with taxpayers' money.

Why does this matter? Because this is unlikely to be the last bailout vote in the Commons - indeed this very SI will have to be voted on in the Commons, probably next week. And if Labour start voting against such orders, the Government may have difficulty getting them through.

There's a growing network of eurosceptic Conservative MPs, including many from the 2010 intake, who're mobilising against a further British contribution to euro-zone bailouts, whether routed through EU mechanisms or through the IMF - they have already shown that they can mobilise enough backbenchers to give them at least the theoretical capability to overturn the Coalition's majority.

And, interestingly, Labour eurosceptics, once a rather atomised band of mavericks, are also networking in a way not seen before.

The worries articulated by Chris Leslie sound pretty similar to those you can hear from some Conservative MPs - about the problems of explaining to voters why big loans (and plenty of MPs think these potential liabilities will rapidly become the real thing) are made to foreigners when money is not available to support the British economy, (he cited the cancelled loan to Sheffield Forgemasters) and the exposure of British taxpayers if loans routed through the IMF are not repaid.

So it is not impossible to imagine the Government being defeated, for the first time, in a Commons vote on a Euro-issue. And even if the key decisions on - say - a second bailout package for Portugal happened to fall during the Summer break, I'm told Tory backbenchers will be organised and ready to communicate their displeasure to the leadership. Certainly the whips could have their work cut out containing the increasing backbench euro-dissent.

* Nerd Note: this is not an up-front financing commitment of £9.5 billion for the UK, but simply increases the potential amount of financing from the UK that the IMF can call on.

 
Mark D'Arcy Article written by Mark D'Arcy Mark D'Arcy Parliamentary correspondent

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 16.

    Why is it that when, according to Osborne and cohorts, we're in the worst financial straits since WWII yet the government sees fit to make even more money available to the IMF to give away to more profligate economies?
    I'm tired of the political chicanery and sleight of hand this shower pass off. Can't we get rid of them at all?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 15.

    quote: "passed almost unnoticed in the Commons yesterday." unquote

    It's not surprising it passed "almost unnoticed" I've been searching for information across the main stream media (inc the BBC) all evening & there has been nothing. An apparent complete blackout. The run up to approval - WITHOUT DEBATE - for £9bn & not worthy of a mention in the media until after the deed is done? V. odd indeed.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 14.

    As usual we are conned by Politicians of all parties. Are there any honest MP's ?? Every day we get fed more lies and excuse. I for one am sick of the way governments (no capitas on purpose) ignore the feelings and opinions of the people who put them where they are. Once in power they consider themselves above the law and the people they are elected to SERVE

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 13.

    We're still one of the biggest economies in the world... if this money is used and lent to a country that does (can?) pay it's bills then the UK makes a tidy profit as we currently are with the loan to Ireland. If they go bust it's a different matter,...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    Interersting assumption by Ian C that Labour actually have a strategy!

    I hear lots of complaints about Govt expenditure cuts but no complaints about the fact the amount of money saved by the cuts is considerably less that the amount lost to EU budget increases partly negotiated/agreed by Blair & Darling & when commitments to EU bailout funds & IMF are added in ...... strewth!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 11.

    Labour spent their time in office being more Tory than the Tories; now they're out of power they're full of good ideas. Of course, if we vote them back in then they'll go back to being Tories again.

    "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss..."

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 10.

    Yes,it really stinks,here there are many of us having to go without,pensioners struggle,families struggle,NHS struggles etc.BUT money to outsiders exists in plenty,will we ever get even a few politicians who think about the British people first??

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 9.

    Love the idea of EU-sceptic patriotic MP's coming together. We would have enough money in this country if we stopped sending billions to Brussels, Africa, India etc especially if we also stopped wasting it in further colossal quantities on daft attempts at climate control (wind turbines are a joke). So much we need at home from aircraft carriers to care homes that what goes on beggars belief.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 8.

    Tactically taking any opportunity to get ConDem rebels to vote against the government given the thin majority will not only force government MPs to be on tenderhooks all the time, but it also gets rebels over the Rubicon of voting against the Government Once GO's growth plan delivers its massive recession, LibDem rebels will need to discover their backbones to ditch Clegg & the Orange Book cabal.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 7.


    @4.zwingli2

    It isn't just Labour voters that object to money being spent abroad - on aid or goods, a good number of people with a brain think its barmy as well.
    1.5 billion to get the Germans to build us some trains. Already serious redundancies here, imminent the company will close completely (now too small), then another industry dead and thousands more on benefit. Good idea? NO!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 6.

    Remember it is all a further bank bailout.....

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5.

    So we can't afford this, that and the other, but we can give money to Europe, in aid, to the IMF, to the rich, to the famous....

    A very poor show from all 3 major parties.
    If only the stupid idiot British people were to wake up and vote for some really fresh faces and ideas then this country might just get back to flourishing. While the stupid out there vote for the same failed parties....

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 4.

    There is definitely a difference of opinion, though the end result may be the same. Labour voters do resent money spent abroad (and this includes the aid budget) when services are cut here. If this is a new ploy by Labour then it will be very popular, however where will it stop.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 3.

    @trevlincs I have to completely disagree with the above comment. Labour and Tories have two completely different ideologies. There is a clear choice.

    I think it's an interesting political strategy from Labour. Milliband seems to be really trying to distance the party from many of the previous tendencies of the Blair administration.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 2.

    Labour = Conservative, Tony Blair's period in office surely told us all that Labour are just real tories in disguise.No choice between these two parties

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1.

    Leading Tory Eurosceptic Mr. Carswell propounded their views on Daily Politics today, saying that this was supporting a 'bailing in' (of a sinking boat) rather than a bailing out. Result: a load more money goes down with the ship, our money at that. Other economists agree, the IMF would do better if it were organising a 'structured' default. The ECB won't do anything, its too political.

 

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