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Labour MP accused of hypocrisy after she skips key debate

Laura Pidcock was absent from a debate on Universal Credit yesterday after Labour criticised a Tory MP for missing a similar debate the previous week

A Labour MP who is an outspoken critic of Universal Credit missed an important debate on the subject as she was in Venice, it was claimed last night.

Laura Pidcock, who famously claimed she would never be friends with a Tory, was in Italy during the welfare reform emergency session.

The Labour MP for North West Durham was accused of hypocrisy, after her party criticised Tory Douglas Ross for missing a Universal Credit debate last week to referee a football game in Barcelona.

Tory MP Andrew Percy said: ‘This is the sort of hypocrisy that gives politics such a bad name – but is not surprising from an increasingly nasty and personalised Labour Party who say one thing and then go and do the opposite themselves.

‘Laura Pidcock should be apologising to her constituents and to Parliament for doing what she herself accused others of just a few days before.’

Miss Pidcock was seen boarding an easyJet flight to Venice from Edinburgh Airport on Sunday afternoon, according to Politico.

She was not seen in the Chamber yesterday. When a reporter attempted to phone her on her mobile, it had a foreign ring tone.

A Labour spokesman said she had missed the debate because of a ‘long-standing commitment which was cleared with the whips’. He did not deny that she was on holiday in Venice, famous for its gondolas and Renaissance art.

During her trip to Italy, she tweeted a link to live coverage of the debate and sent several tweets about the subject. 

She also tweeted a link to Labour’s campaign on Universal Credit, urging her followers to sign a petition to ‘fix’ the reform and share their stories.

Pidcock was seen boarding an EasyJet flight to Venice at Edinburgh Airport on Sunday, according to a witness. Labour officials did not deny she had gone on holiday

Pidcock was seen boarding an EasyJet flight to Venice at Edinburgh Airport on Sunday, according to a witness. Labour officials did not deny she had gone on holiday

The MP also retweeted comments by her colleague Richard Burgon that criticised Tories who spoke. The tweets gave the impression she was participating in the debate, despite being 700 miles away.

Miss Pidcock has previously described Universal Credit as a ‘looming disaster’ that will ‘ruin Christmas’. In August, she led a group of 30 Labour MPs in writing a letter to The Guardian urging the Government to delay the Universal Credit rollout to the New Year.

A rising star in the Labour Party, she is a committed socialist and is close to leader Jeremy Corbyn. She often tweets about Government ‘cuts’ and welfare reforms. She is from Cramlington, Northumberland, and studied politics at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The 30-year-old is best known for an interview in which she said she has ‘absolutely no intention’ of making friends with any Conservatives in Parliament, saying Tories were the ‘enemy’ of women and the working class.

During her maiden speech in the House of Commons, she said Parliament was intimidating to working class people and ‘reeks of the establishment and of power’.

She has previously said: ‘This Government will fall – and we have to go out and convince even more people to vote for socialism.’

She also boasted of representing her constituents ‘with maximum vigour and power’.


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