POLITICS
12/11/2018 22:46 GMT | Updated 12/11/2018 23:21 GMT

May Facing Budget Vote Defeat As Tory, DUP and Labour MPs Join Forces On Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals

First time in 40 years a Government would lose such a Commons showdown.

Press Association

Theresa May is facing the first Government defeat on a Budget vote in 40 years after Tory rebels and the DUP lined up with Labour to accelerate a crackdown on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

Leading Conservatives including Iain Duncan Smith, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson were among 87 MPs who signed ‘killer’ amendments to the Finance Bill to fast-track the reform to April 2019.

The Treasury had argued that it needed until October next year to reduce the maximum stake on the gambling machines from £100 to £2, a six-month delay that prompted the resignation of sports minister Tracey Crouch last month.

The Government had tried to avoid key votes on the Budget, but Labour, SNP and Tory MPs will try to force a faster timetable on Chancellor Philip Hammond by bringing forward the date of a new online gaming tax increase needed to fund the change.

In a stark example of the Prime Minister’s weakening authority and the fragility of her Commons majority, more than 25 Conservatives and all 10 DUP MPs have signed the amendments ahead of a crunch vote next Tuesday. 

The Guardian
Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson

Among the Tories are former Cabinet ministers Nicky Morgan, David Davis, Justine Greening and Michael Fallon, as well as Duncan Smith and Johnson. Former ministers Steve Baker, David Jones and Tim Loughton also signed up.

One ominous sign for the PM was that the DUP’s Jim Shannon, Jeffrey Donaldson, David Simpson and Gregory Campbell, led the way in signing the amendments.

The move could breach the DUP’s ‘confidence and supply’ deal which means its 10 MPs prop May up in power, and on which she was relying to get her Brexit plans through Parliament.

Duncan Smith has teamed up with Labour’s Carolyn Harris, chair of the all-party Parliamentary group on FOBTs, and the SNP’s Ronnie Cowan to exert maximum pressure on the PM and Chancellor.

Des membres du parti nord-irlandais DUP Jeffrey Donaldson (g), Nigel Dodds (c) et Emma Pengelly font une déclaration devant le 10 Downing Street après une rencontre avec la Première ministre Theresa May, le 15 juin 2017 à Londres|Tolga AKMEN
The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson (left) with fellow MPs Nigel Dodds and Emma Little Pengelly

Within seconds of the Finance Bill passing its second reading on Monday night, they formally tabled a new clause that would trigger a review of the feasibility of bringing forward a hike in Remote Gaming Duty (RGD) to April 2019.

At present RGD is due to go up from 15% to 21% in October 2019 to help ensure there is no loss in revenue for the taxpayer from the crackdown on the betting shop machines, which have been dubbed the ‘crack cocaine’ of the gambling world.

Another amendment directly seeks to bring forward the FOBT stake cut from £100 to £2 to April 2019.

The main 'killer' amendment

One Tory backbencher told HuffPost UK: “The Government thought they were being clever in trying to rig things so we couldn’t vote on this. But they didn’t realise we have some very smart people on our side.”

Duncan Smith said: “These proposed amendments to the Finance Bill show the sheer strength of feeling in Parliament on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.

“I hope the Government now sees sense and does the right thing by bringing the FOBT stake cut date forward to April 2019. Any later than this would be an abdication of our responsibility to ensure we protect the most vulnerable in our society”

Harris added: “Enough is enough, MPs on all sides of the House are calling on the Government to see sense and bring forward the stake cut for FOBTs to April 2019. The Government’s position is indefensible.

“They can either accept our amendments or expect to be defeated in the Finance Bill next week. It is a great shame for all concerned that it has come to this.” 

No Prime Minister has been defeated on their own Finance Bill since Labour’s minority government lost a vote on income tax rates in 1978.

The Government’s position was further undermined when the Guardian revealed that a “discredited” report commissioned by bookmakers had influenced the Treasury’s decision on the timing of FOBT stake reduction.

Here is the full list of MPs who have signed the amendments.

TORIES

 

o Rt. Hon. Iain Duncan Smith MP

o Marcus Fysh MP

o David Jones MP

o Heidi Allen MP

o Priti Patel MP

o Sarah Wollaston MP

o Timothy Loughton MP

o Jacob Rees-Mogg MP

o Tracey Crouch MP

o David Davis MP

o Steve Baker MP

o Charlie Elphike MP

o Andrew Selous MP

o Robert Seely MBE MP

o Johnny Mercer MP

o Justine Greening MP

o Richard Bacon MP

o Stephen Kerr MP

o Michael Fallon MP

o Nicky Morgan MP

o Boris Johnson MP

o Adam Holloway MP

o Zac Goldsmith MP

 

LABOUR

o Carolyn Harris

o Susan Elan Jones MP

o Martin Whitfield MP

o Clive Efford MP

o Graham Jones MP

o Wes Streeting MP

o Ruth Cadbury MP

o Jenny Chapman MP

o Tonia Antoniazzi MP

o Stephen Doughty MP

o Gareth Snell MP

o Stella Creasy MP

o Diane Johnson MP

o Tulip Siddiq MP

o Chris Bryant MP

o Helen Hayes MP

o Madeline Moon MP

o Stephen Kinnock MP

o Louise Haigh MP

o Dan Jarvis MP

o Catherine West MP

 

 

DUP

o Jim Shannon MP

o Jeffrey Donaldson MP

o David Simpson MP

o Gregory Campbell MP

o Nigel Dodds

o Paul Girvan

o Iain Paisley

o Emma Little Pengelly

o Gavin Robinson

o Sammy Wilson

 

 

SNP

o Stuart McDonald MP

o Drew Hendry MP

o John McNally MP

o Alison Thewliss MP

o Marion Fellows MP

o David Lindon MP

o Gavin Newlands MP

o Alan Brown MP

o Patricia Gibson MP

o Lisa Cameron MP

o Brendan O’Hara MP

o Angus Brendan MacNeil MP

o Douglas Chapman MP

o Martyn Day MP

o Neil Gray MP

o Tommy Sheppard MP

o Martin Docherty-Hughes MP

o Kirsty Blackman MP

o Stephen Gethins MP

o Chris Stephens MP

o Chris Law MP

o Hannah Bardell MP

 

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

o Christine Jardine MP

 

PLAID CYMRU

o Jonathan Edwards MP

o Liz Saville Roberts MP