With no Tory opposition, the Labour motion condemning the 1 per cent cap was nodded through the Commons at 4.30pm – prompting claims the Government knew it would lose.
The decision consigns Theresa May to an embarrassing Commons reverse but avoids a formal defeat and the awkward visual of DUP MPs trooping into the voting lobby with Labour.
A second debate on raising tuition fees is now underway and a similar result is likely at 7pm after the DUP again backed the Labour position.
Today is the first time since agreeing a confidence and supply agreement to prop up Mrs May’s minority government the DUP have moved against the Tories.
DUP MP Ian Paisley told MPs this afternoon his party planned to vote with Labour against the NHS pay cap – prompting a Tory surrender when the issue came to a vote
Today is the first time since agreeing a confidence and supply agreement to prop up Mrs May’s minority government the DUP have moved against the Tories (pictured are the two parties signing the deal in July)
Mrs May stayed in Downing Street rather than come to Parliament as the vote approached.
Because no MP shouted No when the question on NHS pay was put to the Commons, the motion – which is non-binding and has no legal effect – was agreed unanimously.
DUP MP Ian Paisley revealed his party would support Labour during the debate.
Before the vote was called, he said: ‘I’ve already alluded to the fact that I’m delighted that the Labour Party has brought forward this debate tonight.
‘We will support them if this matter goes to a vote tonight, and it’s interesting to see if we will actually get to that point.
‘Maybe the House will agree that the points that have been raised today are such that we should send out a clarion call from this House that we do agree with the points that have been raised, all across this chamber today.’
DUP MPs were among those to sign an early day motion on public sector pay in the NHS earlier this year.
The decision to surrender on the consigns Mrs May (pictured leaving No 10 today) to an embarrassing Commons defeat but avoids the awkward visual of DUP MPs trooping into the voting lobby with Labour
Mr Paisley said: ‘To those members of the Labour Party who chide about the £1 billion deal, your party would quite happily have cut a deal that would probably have been better for us.
‘That’s the discussions we had in advance of the last election, and to chide us, you only hurt public servants in Northern Ireland who are benefiting from that £1 billion deal that will allow us to allocate this money to relieve these costs.’
Both Labour’s motions on NHS and tuition fees are non-binding and have no legal effect, regardless of the Commons votes.
Defeats in Parliament always carry political embarrassment for the PM as their position is dependant on commanding a majority of the Commons.
The Tory-DUP deal commits 10 MPs from Northern Ireland to backing Mrs May’s government on the most important votes – particularly the Budget and Brexit issues.
But it does not cover a raft of domestic policy issues, severely limited Mrs May’s room for manoeuvre.
Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth hailed the Labour win.
He said: ‘It is welcome that the House of Commons has supported Labour’s call for fair pay in the NHS. The real question is will the Government now ignore the clear will of the House or will it take action to end the pay cap in the NHS.
“It’s extremely rare for the Government not to vote down an Opposition motion and the only explanation is it avoided a vote because it knew it would lose it.
‘The Labour Party is no longer just the official opposition, we are a government in waiting, ready to properly invest in our NHS and its staff and transform Britain for the many not the few.’