On Wednesday 6 September, an event will take place in Portcullis House, the building opposite, and essentially an extension to, the Houses of Parliament. It’s an event by the RCN (Royal College of Nurses) to promote their #ScrapTheCap campaign to end the 1% pay-cap for nurses and other public servants and, as is customary, the event is ‘sponsored’ by a member of Parliament:
There’s a problem with this set-up: Maria Caulfield, the sponsoring MP, voted against scrapping the 1% pay cap this month, as this excerpt from the list of MPs who did so shows:
Ms Caulfield used to be a nurse, so voting for the impoverishment of her former colleagues is particularly dire – and it’s hard to comprehend why the RCN would accept her sponsorship when she has just rejected an opportunity to do exactly what the theme of the event is about.
Labour MP Grahame Morris is a former Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary and one of the best people you could meet. He’s also a long-standing NHS campaigner, one of the most pleasant people in Parliament – and one of the last you’d expect to point fingers, but he was outraged at the collaboration of the RCN with an MP that just made its members poorer:
His anger clearly hadn’t lessened at all when he told the SKWAWKBOX:
It is ridiculous that the Royal College of Nursing believes a Tory MP who voted against scrapping the nurses pay cap is an appropriate choice to sponsor their parliamentary event.
If they thought it best that a nurse sponsored the event, Karen Lee MP for Lincoln would have been an ideal choice, a Labour MP, former nurse who believes her former colleagues need and deserve a pay rise.
Rather than empty rhetoric and warm words the Royal College Nursing should be insisting Tory MPs in parliament should be voting to actually scrap the cap.
This is a deliberate deflection tactic employed by the Tory Party. Time and time again we see Tory MPs hosting events in parliament, chairing all-party groups and speaking in debates about food banks, child poverty, public sector pay cap, WASPI women, disability benefits and then voting with the government to make matters worse for the most vulnerable in society.
At some point this hypocrisy must stop and Tory MPs should be held to account for their actions.
Karen Lee is another great Labour MP who was a nurse right up until she stood for and won the Tory-heartland seat of Lincoln in last month’s General Election. She clearly hasn’t forgotten where she came from, the people she worked with or the ridiculous workload they labour under for a shrinking reward.
Grahame Morris knows what he’s talking about – and he has ample experience of astonishing Tory arrogance and diversion. Less than three weeks ago, his expression was caught on video as a government minister told ‘WASPI’ women that instead of the pensions they had been robbed of by the government, they could do an apprenticeship. Morris’ face tells you all you need to know as the wronged women erupt in outrage:
Morris is absolutely right – this Tory bait-and-switch is ‘business as usual’ politics that just won’t wash any longer. For the RCN to facilitate it is a slap in the face for the hundreds of thousands of nurses struggling under mounting workloads and tumbling living standards while the government offers reckless billion-pound bungs to a political party to keep itself in office and is always, but always, able to find money for a cut in corporation tax or to make the rich richer.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted RCN for comment. An RCN spokesman said:
The RCN is working with all political parties and Maria Caulfield MP, as a former nurse and supporter of the campaign to scrap the pay cap, is an appropriate person to host our lobby of Parliament.
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