East Ham MP Stephen Timms has hit out at Chancellor George Osborne for linking Mick Philpott’s crimes to the welfare debate after he was jailed yesterday.

Mr Timms, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Minister, criticised remarks made by Osborne following the court’s decision to hand Philpott a life sentence after he was convicted of manslaughter over a failed arson plot that killed six of his children.

Osborne commented shortly afterwards that the case raised “a question for government and for society about the welfare state - and the taxpayers who pay for the welfare state - subsidising lifestyles like that”.

But Mr Timms said the Chancellor’s attempt to link the conviction to the welfare debate was “wrong” and seeking to “divide people”.

In a statement online, Mr Timms said: “Mick Philpott’s crimes were terrible. Everyone should be clear that responsibility for these evil acts rests with him and the others sentenced today.

“It is wrong to link those acts with the debate about welfare and George Osborne should not be doing so, even implicitly.

“Millions of people including pensioners and the disabled, people in work and out of work, receive benefits and tax credits. “The Government needs to recognise that they are as shocked and disgusted by the callous killing of these children as anyone else in Britain.

“We need action to tackle the scourge of long term-unemployment, which is why Labour is calling for a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee, but today is not the day to seek to divide people in this way and Mr Osborne should not be cynically doing so.”

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