MPs have supported a Labour call for a pause in the roll-out of the government's new combined benefit, universal credit by 299 votes to 0.

This a symbolic victory for Labour.

Conservative MPs abstained and the vote is not binding on the government.

Following the vote the Commons Speaker, John Bercow has said it was for government ministers to decide how to respond to the \"clearly expressed view of the House\".

frank fieldsLabour's Frank Field told MPs a food bank in his Birkenhead constituency needed to order five tonnes of extra food to deal with hardship caused by the roll-out of universal credit over Christmas.

He asked Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke if his constituents should ignore the food bank's warnings, or give it extra donations as a result of the minister's "inability to deliver a scheme that works".

The Speaker, John Bercow, has said the government should send a minister to the House to give an "indication of its thinking" following the vote on universal credit.

In a highly-charged Commons, he told ministers: "This institution is bigger than any one party, and frankly it is bigger than any one government. This place and what we do here matters very much."

His comments came after Conservative MPs had been ordered by the leadership not to take part in any vote.

However, Labour forced the vote, which meant the Opposition technically won the motion calling for the rollout of the benefit to be paused.

The Conservative MP, Sir Edward Leigh, also criticised his own government's tactics, saying: "What worries me is that surely there is some sort of precedent here..... this is not and should not be a university debating society.

"What is the point of the House of Commons if we just express opinions for the sake of it? Surely when we vote, it should have some effect."

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