Starmer faces new battle with Labor after McDonald’s resignation

Sir Keir Starmer will face a new battle with the Labor left amid accusations that Andy McDonald’s resignation from the shadow cabinet was an act of ‘planned sabotage’ by critics of the party leader.

The Labor Conference will vote on a motion by Unite calling for a minimum wage of £ 15 an hour – the issue which led Mr McDonald to drastically quit Sir Keir’s team, claiming he had been ordered to oppose rising rates of pay. .

The resignation overshadowed Labor efforts to set crime and health policies at the rally in Brighton.

Scottish shadow secretary Ian Murray said: ‘We don’t know exactly why he resigned yesterday, he seems to have said one thing and written another.

“It sounds like a planned sabotage of a conference, rather than a principle.”

He told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland: “We are all very angry and frustrated that the headlines are dominated by one person when we should be talking about the big issues of the future.”

Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds defended Sir Keir’s “strong leadership” after the leader managed to secure a set of house rule changes through a conference despite opposition from left.

But he insisted that Sir Keir’s actions were not an attempt to “defeat” Jeremy Corbyn’s Labor wing.

Mr Thomas-Symonds said: “What we saw this week were first of all the changes to the leadership rules that were passed, and there was some doubt that they were passed, but they were. .

“It showed strong leadership from Keir and a determination that we would face outside the country.”

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “It’s not about defeating different parts of the party, the party has always been a large church, but what we are doing is showing a very strong sense of direction. under our new leadership.

“Keir has shown that very strong sense of direction this week, he pushed through the rule changes and we will be broadcasting those policies around the country now as well.”

Thomas-Symonds said Labor would assess its minimum wage policy ahead of the next general election.

He told Sky News: “We are very committed to a minimum wage of at least £ 10 an hour.

“But it is the responsible thing as we get closer to the elections, to look at the inflation rate, the wage rate, the economic situation at large for the precise figure that we will propose to the country in the next general election. . “

He added: “I wish Andy good luck in the back benches.”

Mr McDonald said he resigned his post as shadow secretary for labor rights after being ordered to argue against a national minimum wage of £ 15 an hour and statutory sickness benefit at living wage before the Tuesday’s vote.

“This is something I couldn’t do,” Mr. McDonald wrote.

In his resignation letter he told Sir Keir: “After 18 months of your leadership, our movement is more divided than ever and the promises you made to members are not being honored. “

Sir Keir replied: “My goal and that of the whole party is to win the next general election so that we can meet the needs of the workers who need a Labor government.”

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