Newly-elected backbencher Laura Pidcock recently launched a furious attack on Theresa May over the Government’s introduction of the new Universal Credit benefit system.
But she was in Italy with friends earlier this week when the payments overhaul was debated in Parliament in an emergency session demanded by her party.
She was spotted boarding an easyJet flight to Venice from Edinburgh Airport on Sunday and failed to appear in the Commons for the debate on Tuesday.
Her absence came just a week after Labour criticised Tory MP Douglas Ross for missing a previous Universal Credit debate last week to be an assistant referee at a Champions League football match in Barcelona.
Ms Pidcock, who was elected as MP for North West Durham in last summer’s snap general election, spoke out to defend herself today after a Tory opponent accused her of hypocrisy.
She said she only heard that the emergency debate had been granted a day after leaving for Venice.
“Naturally I was gutted not to be taking part, having made several interventions on UC in the past, and fought hard to get the Government to pause this disastrous roll-out,” said Miss Pidcock, a hard-Left socialist.
She added: “I will be back in the Chamber this afternoon. I was given permission to have two days off from the house. I would obviously not have gone without this being OK’d.
“To be perfectly honest, if I had known the Universal Credit debate was being tabled, I probably would not have gone either, even without their being a vote. I take my responsibilities very seriously.”
A spokesman for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Miss Pidcock’s absence had been agreed in advance with party whips.
He denied that the party was “hypocritical” after criticising Mr Ross.
Earlier this week, Tory MP Andrew Percy said: “This is the sort of hypocrisy that gives politics such a bad name.”
Soon after becoming an MP, Miss Pidcock vowed that she had “absolutely no intention” of making friends with any Tory MPs because of her hatred of their politics.