Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Another Nail-Biting Wednesday For Brown

Another back-bench revolt looming. More last minute phone calls, bribes  and concessions. Another crisis vote in the Commons. Just another nail-biting Wednesday for Brown. 

With a working majority of 66 Labour MPs, the balance of power in the parliamentary Labour Party is slowly shifting. Soon it will be New Labour faithful who will have to be called the 'rebels' and the back-bench MPs, the voice of the Party.

Brown and chancellor Darling have been busy trying to buy off back-bench Labour MPs over the back-dating of the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). 

The MPs are still threatening to support a Conservative amendment tonight when the commons debates plans to increase VED on the most polluting cars, as part of the Budget.

This 'showroom' tax was originally one of Brown's 'green' ideas, to hit gas guzzling cars. But the plan back-fired when an exemption for cars registered between 2001 and 2006 was removed, leaving owners of older cars furious. 

Back-bench Labour MPs say it is another example of the government hitting Labour's natural supporters - those with older cars. 

Some 69 MPs - including 49 Labour back-benchers - have signed a commons motion urging ministers to reconsider the "retrospective" nature of the tax rise.

Meanwhile some 20 back-bench Labour MPs were set to launched a fresh rebellion over the scrapping of the 10p tax rate last night. 

But in the end they decided not to press a vote, after being given assurances that the chancellor will bring forward concrete proposals on the issue in his Pre-Budget Report this autumn.

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