Nurse MPs clash over pay cap campaign

A Conservative MP and cancer nurse who voted against removing the public sector pay cap has been accused of ‘hypocrisy’ after agreeing to host a Scrap the Cap parliamentary event.
MPs Karen Lee and Maria Caulfield

A Conservative MP and cancer nurse who voted against removing the public sector pay cap has been accused of ‘hypocrisy’ after agreeing to host a Scrap the Cap parliamentary event.

Labour MP Karen Lee (left) and Conservative MP Maria Caulfield

Maria Caulfield will sponsor a drop-in event on 6 September for the RCN to lobby MPs in support of lifting the 1% pay cap.

The event will be held on the same day the college stages it's ‘biggest-ever’ rally of nurses in central London.


When she shared information about the parliament session on social media last week, Ms Caulfield – who voted against lifting the cap when the Labour Party proposed an amendment to the Queen’s Speech in June – was accused of ‘hypocrisy’ by trained nurse and newly-elected Labour MP Karen Lee.

‘As someone who was a practising nurse until a few weeks ago, I find @mariacaulfield utterly cynical and shameful #scrapthecap,’ Ms Lee tweeted.

When Ms Caulfield replied that she was ‘sad Labour MPs were refusing to support an RCN event just because a Conversative MP was sponsoring it’, Ms Lee added: ‘I was simply remarking on the irony of someone who voted to cap nurses wages being so cynical. I'm all for scrapping the cap. Sheer hypocrisy.’

‘Message to parliamentarians’

Ms Caulfield, who still who still covers bank shifts at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, later told Nursing Standard: ‘As a member of parliament who is still a practising nurse, I am proud to be supporting the RCN by sponsoring this event in parliament and helping them get their message out to other parliamentarians.

‘It is a shame that some opposition members, rather than being supportive of the event, are choosing to use it as a chance for political point-scoring.

‘The vote on public sector pay during the Queen’s Speech would not have lifted the pay cap, but would have amended the Queen’s Speech and risked bringing down the government.

‘Meaningful vote’

‘I have made clear that when a meaningful vote that will actually lift the pay cap is brought to the house I will vote for it.’

She said she was hopeful all MPs would support the scrap the cap campaign and urged everybody to write to their MP regardless of political bias ‘to support nurses’.

Ms Lee tweeted: ‘I shall be going to this. I shall ask both Maria Caulfield and the RCN their thoughts on her voting against #Scrapthecap #hypocrisy.’

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