Tory MPs have blocked a bid to give nurses, police and firefighters a proper pay rise after a day of government chaos on the subject.
MPs voted 323-309, a majority of just 14, against Labour’s bid to end the 1% public sector pay cap in the first Commons vote since the general election.
DUP MPs were crucial to Theresa May’s victory – despite winning a £1billion bung for their own public services in Northern Ireland in exchange for propping her up.
Labour’s Andrew Gwynne fumed: “It is ironic – there is not going to be any austerity in Northern Ireland, but in England, Scotland and Wales we have to continue with the pain.”
Jeremy Corbyn added: “Tonight the Conservatives had an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is… Instead they marched through the lobby to show Tory austerity is business as usual.”
Labour had proposed an amendment to the Queen’s Speech to “end the public sector pay cap and give the emergency and public services a fair pay rise”.
Public sector workers had their pay frozen for two years thanks to Tory austerity in 2010 and rises have then been capped at 1% a year since 2012.
The restraint means wages have lagged far behind rising prices and has led to horror stories of nurses turning to food banks.