Senior Labor MP backs calls for general strike as Starmer faces open rebellion

The former Shadow Labor Party minister backed calls for a general strike as leader Sir Keir Starmer struggled to contain the scandal with unions and leftists in his party over the dismissal of Sam Turry.

• Terry, who was in a relationship with Deputy Labor Leader Angela Reiner, was fired as Shadow Transport Minister after publicly supporting rail strikes and giving a series of media interviews without permission from his party headquarters.

The move was met with fury by trade unions and leftist parties.

Speaking to Sky News, John McDonnell called it a “serious mistake”, accused Sir Keir of “misunderstanding the public mood” and supported calls for a general strike.


Former Labor Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell (Jacob King/PA)

Labor did not officially support the strike, but criticized the government and urged ministers to take part in the negotiations.

The MP for Hayes and Harlington told Sky News: “I don’t know who is advising Keir Starmer, but this is a completely unnecessary quarrel concocted just at a time when the Tories are tearing themselves apart, which we have. I think this is the maximum opportunity. to get an advantage in the polls that will create support to get us into government.”

He added, “This is an unnecessary argument and whoever advised Keir Starmer on this, I think they made a serious mistake.”

Asked about a general strike proposed by RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch, the former Labor Shadow Chancellor said: “If you look at the ballots that are going through the union movement, we are talking about the millions of workers who are now voting for a strike. So, naturally, what people say, why not coordinate it?

“Well, I support coordinated action, because if it leads to a decent increase in people’s wages, they will be protected from the cost of living crisis. I think it’s the most efficient thing to do.”

Calling on the party to take a different stance on strikes, Mr McDonnell said: “I think mistakes were made from the start. We need to step back and really start trying to ensure the unity not only of the entire labor and trade union movement, but of the entire country as a whole. I think Keir and his advisors have completely misinterpreted the situation. I think they misinterpreted the mood in the labor and trade union movement. But I also think they misunderstood the mood of the general public.”

Shortly after the dismissal came condemnation from trade unions, Labor MPs and others.

York Central MP Rachel Maskell urged the Labor leader to visit the picket lines on Wednesday night, while GMB general secretary Gary Smith said Labor’s “enormous goal of its own” is “to turn the Conservative transport crisis into Labor history.”

Meanwhile, former Labor Deputy Prime Minister Lord John Prescott tweeted a photo of himself addressing striking miners when he was shadow transport minister in 1984.

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes, RMT boss Mr. Lynch and Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham criticized Sir Keir’s decision.

Mr. Tarry is a former TSSA railroad union official.

Announcing that he would be removed from the front bench, a Labor spokesman said: “The Labor Party will always support workers fighting for better pay, working conditions.

“This is not about appearing at the picket line.

“The front bench members are taking collective responsibility.

“This includes the endorsement of media appearances and speaking at agreed front lines.

I remain committed to the support of the striking railroad workers and I am in favor of a Labor victory in the next general election, for which I will fight relentlessly from the bench.Sam Tarry

“As a sitting government, any breach of collective responsibility is taken very seriously, and for these reasons Sam Terry has been removed from the front bench.”

In a statement, Mr Tarry said it was a “privilege” for him to serve on Labour’s top team.

“I remain committed to supporting the striking railroad workers and I stand for a Labor victory in the next general election, for which I will fight tirelessly from behind the scenes,” he added.

On Wednesday, rail passengers faced new travel chaos after thousands of workers went on strike, damaging services across the country.

A number of Labor MPs also joined the picket lines, including Liverpool West Derby MP Ian Byrne, Brent Central MP Don Butler, Birmingham Hall Green MP Tahir Ali, Gateshead MP Ian Mearns and South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.