Mike Penning MP explains vote against lifting of public sector pay cap

Mike Penning voted against the amendment from Labour
Mike Penning voted against the amendment from Labour

Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning has said that he wants to see a review on the public sector pay cap - but a vote yesterday was the wrong time to do it.

Mr Penning was one of 323 MPs to vote against a Labour amendment yesterday to the Queen's Speech, which called for a lifting of the public sector pay gap. and the recruitment of more police and fire officers.

Critics say the rejection of the bill has denied emergency services a fair pay rise, but MPs who voted against the bill say that it was a 'political stunt' from the Labour party.

And Mr Penning nailed his colours to the mast by saying he wanted a review of the pay cap, but not just yet.

In a post on his Facebook page, Mr Penning said: "I understand people are upset about the vote yesterday on the Labour amendment to the Queen's Speech.

"I fully accept that the time has come for a serious debate about the continuation of the public sector pay cap.

"Last night's amendment was a political stunt intended to bring down the government. If I, and my colleagues, had not voted against the amendment the government would fall and we would be forced into another General Election.

"Even if Jeremy Corbyn then attempted to form a government, he would not be able to secure enough support to push through his own agenda and again we would be back to another General Election."

Mr Penning held his Hemel Hempstead seat in the general election earlier this month, and although he increased his share of the vote his majority was dented.

He also left his role as a Minister for the Armed Forces in a government reshuffle by Theresa May, but pledged to stand by the PM, who has struck a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland for support in parliament.

The DUP helped Conservative MPs vote down the proposed amendment, but Mr Penning says he would consider the issue differently in future.

He said: "I can assure you that a significant number of MPs, myself included, want to review the public sector pay cap but last night was the wrong time.

"We need to look as to how we fund any changes, but change must come."