Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lib-Dem Free Vote on Gender Pay Gap 'Is Latest Sign of Pact with Labour'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lib-Dem Free Vote on Gender Pay Gap 'Is Latest Sign of Pact with Labour'

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

NICK CLEGG'S Liberal Democrats inched closer to Labour today by allowing backbenchers to vote for an opposition bid to highlight the gender pay gap.

The move comes after it emerged that Mr Clegg's team blocked George Osborne from forcing a Commons vote designed to embarrass Ed Miliband over the deficit.

Mr Miliband has also been helped by Business Secretary Vince Cable protesting publicly against Conservative plans for spending cuts after the election, which has bolstered Labour's argument that the plans are ideologically driven.

Senior Lib-Dem sources insist they are adopting a position midway between the two bigger parties, but some MPs are convinced that the moves are paving the way for a possible Lib-Lab coalition after the election.

Today's vote could force thousands of large companies to publish the pay gap between male and female employees. Lib-Dem backbenchers will get a free vote on the proposals being put forward by the Labour MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion. …

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