David Davis, MP for Haltemprice and Howden, said members had a chance to speak unfettered from the ‘playground of politics’ and went against his party to say the Chancellor’s initial plan to reduce tax credits was a ‘mistake’.
Earlier this week the House of Lords passed a motion from Labour that means the policy will now be delayed while George Osborne works out how to protect the poorest families.
Mr Davis, said he was not against his party balancing the books, but that tax credit changes could take up to £2000 from a single parent with two children was ‘a completely unbelievable sum of money to take off a family that is already poor’.
He said: “This policy was a mistake. One can only think that, because I don’t think anybody in any party in this House would deliberately have impoverished the working poor with dependent families. That simply was not intended.”
“My arguement should be that we cut tax credits in step with the living wage and minimum wage.
“The criterian that the Government must meet is no losses for the least well off.
“The working poor, the dependents, cannot afford to lost £1. So that’s the test the Government has to meet.”
Jason McCartney, MP for the Colne Valley and Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole, were also among the co-sponsors of the cross-party debate, alongside London mayoral candidate and Richmond MP, Zak Goldsmith.
Mr Davis is a longstanding critic of slashing tax credits in a way that hurts the poor, having voted against the policy in September.