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ANDY McDONALD resigned from the shadow cabinet last night, saying Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had made his position untenable by ordering him to oppose higher wages and sick pay for workers.
The shadow employment rights secretary quit just hours after championing Labour’s new deal on employment rights at an Institute of Employment Rights fringe, and confirmed he would continue to campaign to see those policies delivered, including its commitment to fair pay agreements to establish sectoral collective bargaining.
He wrote to Sir Keir that he had accepted his brief because “I wanted to fight for the working people of this country. It has become clear that I cannot do this as a member of the shadow cabinet.”
Mr McDonald said Sir Keir’s office had told him to go to a meeting and argue against a national minimum wage of £15 an hour and against setting statutory sick pay at the minimum wage.
“This is something I could not do … after many months of a pandemic when we made commitments to stand by key workers, I cannot look those same workers in the eye and tell them they are not worth a wage that is enough to live on or that they don’t deserve security when they are ill.”
He also said he had joined Sir Keir’s team on the basis of socialist pledges made in the leadership campaign and promises that the leader would work to unite the party.
“After 18 months of your leadership our movement is more divided than ever and the pledges that you made to the membership are not being honoured,” he charged.
At the earlier fringe he had championed the new deal for its pledges to tackle poverty pay and strengthen unions alongside speakers including Professor Keith Ewing, University & College Union leader Jo Grady and Lord John Hendy QC.
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