Comedian Frankie Boyle has publicly criticised Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy for not voting against controversial government "workfare" reforms.

The stand-up comic, who has 1.3 million followers on Twitter, singled out Ms Creasy on the website and said her Labour colleagues who did object to the legislation last night had "voted with their conscience".

Ms Creasy abstained but said that did not mean she supported the legislation.

Workfare was introduced by the Department of Work and Pensions, which is headed by Chingford MP Iain Duncan Smith, in 2011.

Under the scheme, people on Jobseeker's Allowance who have not managed to get a job after completing a work training programme are forced to carry out unpaid work in order to keep receiving their benefits.

However the policy was plunged into doubt last month when a judge ruled the scheme was unlawful because participants had not been given enough information on their rights to appeal.

But yesterday the government rushed through retrospective legislation to combat the court ruling and allow Workfare to continue, while also denying potential benefit refunds to those who refused to take part.

According to reports the Labour Party whipped its MPs into abstaining, helping for the legislation to be passed.

However 44 Labour MPs refused and rebelled.

Mr Boyle wrote: "Did you vote against Workfare?"

Ms Creasy replied:  "I abstained for a very good local reason. [I] don't expect you to believe me of course but happy to explain...

"[But] what I can't do is explain on here just yet.

"Again am sure you will castigate me regardless but would appreciate it if you could ask your followers to at least not spam me with comments on my gender."

Mr Boyle replied: "Most comments seem to be about tacit support for forced labour. Glad to see 40 MPs voted with their conscience."

Ms Creasy has not publicly explained why she abstained and said she was too busy to speak to the Guardian because of today's budget.

But in a short statement she said: "local residents from Walthamstow who have experienced sanctions should get in touch as a matter of priority with me".

She also offered on Twitter to discuss the issue with residents only via email.

It is not clear why Mr Boyle singled out Ms Creasy for criticism.

The government says workfare helps long-term unemployed people with getting jobs as it helps provide them with new skills, experiences and boosts their CVs.

But critics such as the Boycott Workfare group say it does not work, and describe the scheme as a form of forced labour which allows big companies to exploit unemployed people.