The Government has defeated an attempt to force ministers to publish its analysis of the impact of the welfare reforms on people’s incomes.
Labour described Universal Credit (UC) as a “vehicle for cuts”, but failed in their efforts to push ministers into releasing the documents, by 299 votes to 279, majority 20.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood said UC had been “beset with flaws in its design and delivery” and was “causing immense hardship”.
But Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey insisted the Government had taken a “mature approach” to the roll-out and said it would continue.
Opening an Opposition Day debate in the Commons, Ms Greenwood said: “Universal Credit, the Government’s flagship social security programme, has been beset with flaws in its design and delivery.
“It’s causing immense hardship for many people wherever it is rolled out.
“It is hard to believe now, but UC was designed to lift people out of poverty and smooth the transition into work to ensure that it always pays.
“The reality is that UC is a vehicle for cuts.”
Ms Greenwood said “confusion” about the transfer to UC was causing families “real concern” and that they “deserve answers”.
Labour’s motion was the latest proposed use of an arcane parliamentary procedure to make the vote binding on the Government by issuing a “humble address” to the Queen asking her to require ministers to comply.
It called for “any briefing papers or analysis provided to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions since January 8 2018 on the impact of the roll-out of Universal Credit on recipients’ and household income and on benefit debts” to be laid before Parliament.
Ms McVey insisted the roll-out of Universal Credit would continue, but said she would ensure the Government “get it right”.
“We will make sure we get this benefit right. You know for why? Because the genuine concerns of the people on our backbenches want to get it right.”
She received backing from Tory Heidi Allen (South Cambridgeshire), who said she and fellow backbenchers believed the Secretary of State is “listening to what needs to change with Universal Credit”.
She said that “makes a mockery of the motion”, and told MPs that there is “not a single person, myself included, who will vote for the motion”.
Ms McVey told the Commons that disabled households would be £110 better off through Universal Credit, as she defended the Government’s approach.
She said: “Around one million disabled households will receive on average around £110 more per month through Universal Credit, and if we were to follow the advice of the party opposite those one million disabled households would be £110 worse off.
“That’s what the opposition are asking for.”
Employment Minister Alok Sharma urged MPs to reject the motion, telling the Commons: “This is not a welfare reform lacking in scrutiny and transparency.”
But Ms McVey faced criticism from Labour’s Toby Perkins (Chesterfield), who said: “She pointedly remarked at the start of her contribution about the fact that this is the third time she’s had to come to the House just this week.
“Doesn’t that tell her how badly these reforms are going?”
The SNP’s work and pensions spokesman Neil Gray later accused Tory MPs of being “deaf to facts” on Universal Credit and that “loyalty makes them blind to the reality”.
Mr Gray also said that he took claims from the Tory benches that their constituents had not had problems with the benefit with “a lorry load of salt”.
The comment came after reports Health Secretary Matt Hancock had received a concerned email from a constituent – despite stating that he had received “no letters at all” about Universal Credit.