Divisions in Coalition as MPs demand independent inquiry on poverty

It’s good news that at last a vote has been passed demanding an independent inquiry into the truly staggering rise of poverty in the UK. I’ve no doubt that the commenters on Mike’s blog, who believe that the government will now try either to suppress the report or water down its conclusions, are right. Nevertheless, a small success has been won in that parliament has voted overwhelmingly for a inquiry, which the government has repeatedly refused to launch. We can attack and criticise the Tories for the attempted manipulation or suppression of the inquiry’s results when that comes.

It’s interesting that of the two MPs that voted against the inquiry, one was Jacob Rees-Mogg. Jacob is the son of the Times journalist and bona fide Tory lord, William Rees-Mogg. Rees-Mogg senior was often in Private Eye because of the sheer absence of any kind of perceptiveness in this political predictions. When reviewing one of his books, speculating on what the new millennium would hold for us, Private Eye said that all you need to do to see what was really going on was to read his views, then believe the exact opposite. Having read his book, the Eye declared, it was all very good news: Rees-Mogg predicted DOOM. As for young Jacob, he first stood for parliament in a Scots fishing constituency, I believe, where he declared that he would base his campaign on attacking the government’s plan to reform the House of Lords. No wonder the Scots now want devolution. He also described how he got his nanny to hold a book over his head so that he didn’t get sunburn at Glyndebourne. Perhaps his greatest achievement, however, was setting his lawyers on to a young chap, who had committed the grave crime on setting up a spoof blog lampooning him. His lawyers managed to get the blog shut down, but, according to the Eye, there are now four others to take its place. Surely in Jacob Rees-Mogg we have a true defender of democracy, in someone, who wishes to hold on to the power of an unelected aristocracy and shut down any opposing comment on his conduct.

Mike Sivier's blog


Calls for a ‘commission of inquiry’ into the impact of the government’s changes to social security entitlements on poverty have won overwhelming support from Parliament.

The motion by Labour’s Michael Meacher was passed with a massive majority of 123 votes; only two people – David Nuttall and Jacob Rees-Mogg – voted against it.

The debate enjoyed cross-party support, having been secured by Mr Meacher with Sir Peter Bottomley (Conservative) and John Hemming (Liberal Democrat).

Introducing the motion, Mr Meacher said: “It is clear that something terrible is happening across the face of Britain. We are seeing the return of absolute poverty, which has not existed in this country since the Victorian age more than a century ago. Absolute poverty is when people do not have the money to pay for even their most basic needs.”

He said the evidence was all around:

  • There are at least 345 food banks and…

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