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Tory MPs accused of bid to talk out Bill that targets child poverty

A shadow minister accused Tory MPs of attempting to use parking charge proposals to talk out a Bill calling on the Government to set a target to end child poverty.

Shadow communities minister Andy Slaughter said he was "very, very angry" at Conservative efforts to stop a Private Member's Bill from Labour MP Dan Jarvis being heard in the Commons.

Mr Jarvis's Child Poverty in the UK (Target for Reduction) Bill was scheduled third on the list for Commons business on Friday.

It calls on the Government to reintroduce a target to end child poverty, which the Institute for Fiscal Studies says could rise by 50% by 2020.

But a number of Tory MPs made lengthy speeches during a debate on the first Bill of the day, on making it easier for councils to lower parking charges, leaving Mr Jarvis with just 30 minutes for his draft legislation.

His Bill ultimately ran out of time, with debate scheduled to resume on February 24.

However, time constraints mean its chances of progressing are very slim.

Mr Jarvis, the MP for Barnsley Central, told the Government its decision to disband the cross-department Child Poverty Unit risked giving the impression "that tackling child poverty has been downgraded".

"Setting a target can help put that right," he said.

"It would demonstrate a seriousness of purpose and determination to stop more children living in poverty because we have a duty to this generation to make progress on addressing child poverty once again."

Mr Jarvis also said uncertainty caused by Brexit should not be used as an excuse for inaction on the issue.

MPs had earlier spent nearly three and a half hours debating Tory MP David Tredinnick's Parking Places (Variation of Charges) Bill which the Government had indicated it would support.

Conservative MP Jo Churchill (Bury St Edmunds) told the Commons during the Bill's third reading that there had been a dearth of contributions from Labour on the proposals.

Mr Slaughter replied: "I'm listening to her speaking and I do think she's pushing her luck.

"A lot of us on this side are very, very angry about the fact that the honourable member for Barnsley Central's Bill is being talked out by her and her friends on the Government backbenches today.

"If she wants to do that, she can play games, but please don't criticise us."

The parking charges Bill was welcomed by Mr Slaughter who said: "It has our support and although modest in size I'm sure it will do what you (Mr Tredinnick) say and bring a pleasure around the country in that way."

Communities minister Marcus Jones said the Bill "offers a real opportunity for small but very sensible reform".

The Parking Places (Variation of Charges) Bill received an unopposed third reading and will now head to the House of Lords for further scrutiny.

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