Labour frontbenchers defy Starmer’s rail strike picket line ban


Sir Keir Starmer’s try and distance Labour from this week’s UK rail strikes bumped into problem on Tuesday after a number of junior shadow ministers and the occasion’s chief in Scotland defied his edict to keep away from picket traces.

Starmer, chief of the opposition occasion, had ordered his frontbenchers to not seem alongside putting members of the RMT, the union behind the economic motion.

Although the RMT disaffiliated from the Labour occasion 18 years in the past, it has given donations to particular person MPs extra not too long ago.

Frontbenchers who appeared on picket traces on Tuesday included Kate Osborne, Paula Barker and Navendu Mishra.

© Anas Sarwar/Twitter

Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour chief, additionally provided “solidarity” to the strikers and tweeted an image of himself with them at Edinburgh Waverley station. “The workers don’t want strikes. The unions don’t want strikes. The public don’t want strikes,” he mentioned. “This is a crisis entirely of the government’s making.”

Diane Abbott, shadow house secretary underneath former chief Jeremy Corbyn, congratulated Sarwar for his stance. “What is Keir Starmer going to do, remove Anas as (Scotland) leader?” she requested.

Sam Tarry, a shadow transport minister, tweeted an image of himself on a picket line with the RMT from just a few months in the past, saying: “Workers don’t take the decision to strike lightly but they have been left with no choice.”

Party officers indicated that frontbenchers who denied Starmer’s orders might face disciplinary motion. However the chief whip isn’t anticipated to do something till the RMT strikes are over.

Conservative ministers are attempting to put blame for the strikes on the door of the opposition occasion, dubbing the walkouts on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday as “Labour’s strikes”. Dominic Raab, deputy prime minister, claimed on Tuesday that Labour had “actively encouraged the inconvenience commuters are suffering”.

However Starmer, who has sought to tug his occasion to the centre floor since taking up from the leftwing Corbyn in 2020, has criticised the RMT’s motion as a result of he’s apprehensive that the strikes might alienate many swing voters.

That stance has infuriated union leaders together with Sharon Graham, head of Unite the Union — Labour’s greatest single donor in recent times — which mentioned the occasion was based by commerce unions. “To instruct Labour MPs not to be on picket lines with workers speaks volumes,” she mentioned. “It’s time to decide whose side you are on, workers or bad bosses?”

A ballot by Savanta ComRes on Tuesday discovered that 58 per cent of these surveyed thought the strikes had been justified with solely 34 per cent saying they weren’t.