Keir Starmer has been hit by a shadow cabinet resignation in the middle of his party’s convention after a row with one of his top team over minimum wage policy.
Andy McDonald, the shadow secretary of state for employment rights, said on Monday afternoon that his position on Sir Keir was “untenable” and that he could no longer work for the party leader.
In his resignation letter, Mr McDonald said Sir Keir’s office had “instructed” him to “go to a meeting to argue against the one-hour national minimum wage and against statutory sick pay on the living wage”.
Mr McDonald said it was “something I cannot do”. He warned that under Sir Keir’s leadership Labor was “more divided than ever”.
The resignation is a blow to the Labor leader who was hoping to turn the page with the party’s left in a row that characterized the first half of the convention.
Sir Keir kicked off the convention with defeat over plans to eliminate one member one vote for Labor leadership elections, but passed optional changes to Labor rules, making it harder for MPs with little support from their allies to get ballots. Will be done.
During negotiations with trade unions on rule changes, Sir Keir was reportedly taken to task by union leaders for not supporting the £15 minimum wage.
The party says it wants at least a £10 minimum wage, an increase of around £1 from the current £8.91, although the current rate could already rise closer to that level until the next general election.
Mr McDonald told reporters outside the Labor conference in Brighton: “Yesterday it was a composite meeting when membership and union were campaigning [a £15 minimum wage] And being asked to defend my position and not support what the party and unions wanted to do is something I absolutely cannot sustain. “
That’s what we should do. Is it really unreasonable to expect that people going to work, our key workers do not have the level of pay and are able to maintain their position?”
In his resignation letter, Mr McDonald continued: “After several months of the pandemic as we made a commitment to stand with key workers, I can no longer look those same workers in the eye and tell them they are paying a wage. are not worth what is enough to live. but, or that they are not eligible for protection when they become ill.
“We live in a time when the people of this country have a renewed awareness of how important the work done by millions of low-paid workers really is. The Labor Party, the party of the working people, does not realize that this is a bitter blow.
“I joined your Frontbench team based on the promises made in the leadership campaign to bring unity within the party and uphold our commitment to socialist policies.
“After eighteen months of your leadership, our movement is more divided than ever and the pledge you made for membership is not being respected. This is the latest of many.
“I am extremely proud of the work my team has done to produce Labor’s Employment Rights Green Paper, which was unveiled earlier this week. To ensure this agenda is met, I I will continue to work with the comrades of the entire movement.
“I look forward to being free to fight off the backbench for the working people of this country.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /