MP Stewart Jackson was confronted by leading broadcaster Jon Snow during an interview on tax credit changes last night (Tuesday, October 27).
The Channel 4 host repeatedly pushed Mr Jackson on the issue with the Peterborough MP using the interview to attack Labour’s employment record and to promise he will lobby Chancellor George Osborne to offset some of the changes.
Mr Snow claimed at the start of the interview that 76 per cent of all the children in the Peterborough constituency will be adversely affected by the changes.
The issue flared up on Monday evening when the House of Lords, the upper chamber in Parliament, voted against the £4.4 billion cut from tax credits which had been passed by the House of Commons where Mr Jackson sits.
Mr Jackson also clashed with Baroness Angela Smith, Labour’s Leader in the House of Lords, who was also being interviewed by Mr Snow.
The broadcaster began his interview by asking Mr Jackson: “Given that 76 per cent of all the kids in your constituency are affected by these cuts, what representations have you made to the Chancellor about how damaging they are going to be for them?”
Mr Jackson replied by saying: “We want to simplify this system and make sure that work always does pay. And the fact of the matter is Labour enmeshed so many millions of people in welfare dependency rather than aiming for what we want to do and what the chancellor has done.”
The pair then started to interrupt each other, with Mr Snow claiming Mr Jackson had not answered his question and Mr Jackson asking the host to let him finish his point.
Mr Jackson went on to say: “One of the representations I have made directly to the Chancellor is that the transitional arrangements he brings forward on the Autumn Statement in three weeks’ time should soften the most harsh effects on a group of people who are in work.
“It is not our business to be making it disadvantageous to be working. People prefer to be working and not being on benefits.”
Mr Snow went on to ask Mr Jackson: “I don’t hear you addressing the issue which is that people are going to lose hundreds of pounds - people in your constituency - and you did nothing about it.”
Mr Jackson replied: “I am committed to looking after the interests of all my constituents including the working people on low wages. I’ve championed the National Living Wage which is a fantastic policy.
“I believe that we were right to change the tax allowances and bring in extra childcare help.
“But we do need to do more and I will be lobbying the Chancellor to offset some of the effects to some of the lower-paid people in my constituency, you can be sure of that.”
Commenting after the interview, Mr Jackson said he believes the Chancellor will now lessen the impact on his constituents from the changes.
He added: “I fully support tax allowance changes, extra help for childcare and the National Living Wage for which I was a longstanding advocate and the aim is rightly to cut back the ballooning £30 billion tax credit bill and get people off welfare and in to well-paid work.”