In Voting Against Osborne's Charter, the Leadership of the Labour Party Has Charged Into a Tory Trap

15/10/2015 12:56 BST | Updated 15/10/2016 10:12 BST

I am a cautious person who is not in the habit of jumping headlong into bear traps.

The Fiscal Charter is a meaningless and pointless piece of legislation which can be repealed in as short a time as it took to enact it.

George Osborne did not need this charter to achieve his objectives. He can do that as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Osborne himself in 2010 called similar legislation "vacuous and irrelevant" and a "feeble political stunt". This stunt from George Osborne should have been treated with disdain and not dignified with a vote for or against.

In voting against Osborne's charter, the leadership of the Labour Party has charged, in the most chaotic way possible, into the Tory trap which was to reinforce the public's doubts about whether we could be trusted to manage the economy. Last night George Osborne achieved his objective.

The Tories know as we do that trust on the economy was a major factor in our losing the last election.

My abstention was my expression of the frustration and anger I feel on behalf of my constituents who are desperate for decent housing, struggling with benefit cuts and sanctions leaving them penniless and dependent on food banks. Only today I have been dealing with bailiffs repossessing furniture from a family who are living on the edge.

They are not interested in me telling them it is the Tories' fault. They want them out.

If we continue on this same track they will be in government for the next 20 years - what use is that to our constituents?

I don't want the Labour Party to be an unelectable, permanent party of protest. I want it to be a party in government that is on the side of the people I represent.

Last night was my statement on behalf of powerless and voiceless constituents who are looking to the Labour Party as the only realistic alternative government to the Tories. And don't want us to screw it up.

Ann Coffey is the Labour MP for Stockport