Harriet Harman has admitted she would oppose the Tories’ controversial Welfare Bill if she had to make the same decision again.
The veteran MP for Camberwell and Peckham has been at the helm of the Labour ship since Miliband’s electoral defeat – there has been mutiny in the ranks as leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn has split the party down the middle and the political iceberg of the Welfare Bill vote.
In response to Chancellor George Osborne’s budget last month, Ms Harman gave the surprising instruction for her MPs to abstain from the bill vote, which would see cuts to Child Tax credits and the abolition of child poverty targets.
In the end 48 ministers rebelled and voted against it anyway and in an interview with the Guardian at the weekend Ms Harman admitted she would oppose the bill if she could make that decision again.
“I probably would. I did say to people in the Parliamentary Labour Party, there is no right answer… I tried to do what I thought was the right thing for the party at this particular time… although possibly not in the best interests of myself. It was one of the most difficult political decisions I’ve ever had to make. Would I rather have not had the responsibility to make the decision on that bill? Absolutely,” she said.
Ms Harman also confirmed that once a new Labour party leader is elected next month, she will be taking a seat in the back benches of the House of Commons