Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Another Liberal Democrat rebellion in the Commons

It is a sign of the lack of attention being paid to the Superannuation Bill currently on its passage through the Commons that yesterday's rebellion by four Liberal Democrat MPs appears to have gone pretty much unnoticed.

Featured on Liberal Democrat VoiceFor those of you who may not be aware of this piece of legislation (and I guess that you're probably not a civil servant), Clause 1 of this Bill would cap compensation payable under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme at a maximum of 12 months’ pay for compulsory redundancy and 15 months’ for voluntary exits. Clause 2 provides for clause 1 to expire after 12 months, unless repealed, extended or revived using order-making powers.

You would expect Labour to vote against it - after all, it was their original proposal that was struck down by the courts - but it seems to have attracted some concern on our benches too.

So, step forward Mike Hancock and Bob Russell, who clearly have their ears to the ground, or have been lobbied by the Public and Commercial Services Union (declaration of interest - I'm a member). Admittedly, they have rapidly built a reputation for themselves as serial rebels/the conscience of the Party (depending upon your personal view), but on this occasion, they weren't alone. The third and fourth men in this mini-revolt were Martin Horwood and David Ward, and today's Telegraph indicates their stance.

I'll be honest, amongst civil servants, this is an astonishingly sensitive issue, with the expectation of severe job losses over the coming year, with some very lowly-paid staff likely to be at the vanguard of these. Under the circumstances, yesterday's protest by PCS in Westminster was only the opening salvo in a campaign that will be particularly targetted at Liberal Democrat MPs.

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