LABOUR will abstain on a vote to establish a cost-of-living crisis committee proposed by the SNP.

SNP MPs had the floor in the House of Commons on Wednesday, putting put forward their plans to create a new committee of 45 members to probe the causes of the cost of living crisis and the impact of Brexit on the UK economy.

Asked whether Labour would vote for the proposals, a party spokesperson said: “This is being done as part of an opposition day motion today – normally our position is to abstain on SNP opposition day motions. So I’d expect that to be the convention that we would follow today.”

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Pressed on whether Labour believed there should be a committee of the kind proposed by the SNP at all, the spokesperson said there were “specific issues” with the way the committee had been proposed.

The SNP’s plans would put one of their MPs in the chair – with 22 government members balanced with 22 members from the opposition.

Ian Murray said Labour would not support the creation of the committee because of "flaws" in the SNP's plans.

Making the case for the committee, SNP MP Philippa Whitford said the UK needed to "admit" to problems caused by Brexit. 

"As we approach the seventh anniversary of the referendum, one of its key architects may have just left the stage [Boris Johnson], but Brexit’s disastrous legacy will impact people across the nations of the UK for years to come," she said. 

“I know as a doctor that the first step in dealing with any problem is to admit that you have one, but both this Government and the Labour Party appear to be in complete denial about the contribution of Brexit to the cost-of-living crisis.”

Whitford added: "If he wants to reduce some of the damage of Brexit, the Labour leader should support the idea of a committee to identify proposals that could be put to the EU prior to the review of the trade and co-operation agreement in 2026.

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"Otherwise, what is the plan? Close his eyes, click his red heels together and make a wish?”

Murray hit back, saying: "This may seem like a sensible idea, but it’s when looking at the small print that the flaws of this proposal become clear.

"Now I’m left wondering if the real reason that this is being proposed is for the SNP to try and get one of their many disgruntled members of their group an additional salary payment as being committee chair.”

Taking aim at the SNP's independence policy, Labour's shadow Scottish secretary criticised the party for opposing Brexit while promoting a separation he argued would be "many magnitudes worse" than leaving the EU. 

He said: "Their solution to Brexit, which in their words and mine and many others was a bad idea, is to have Scexit, which indeed would be many magnitudes worse than Brexit. They want to repeat the same mistakes and do the same thing.”

Responding to the proposals for the Government, Scotland Office minister John Lamont said the committee proposal was a "crackpot" idea. 

"The SNP’s motion to establish a select committee to look at the cost-of-living crisis is not only unnecessary duplication of other work by this Parliament, but it is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money," said Lamont.

“The total anticipated cost to the House of Commons for this crackpot idea is in the region of £463,000 per annum […] and, in addition, there would be extra costs to adapt Parliament’s committee rooms to accommodate this massive new committee.”