Sam Tarry has been removed from the Labour frontbench by Keir Starmer, after the shadow transport minister joined the RMT picket line today.
“I’m not defying anybody,” Tarry said this morning, as he stood at the picket line outside London Euston Station – doing the exact opposite of what Starmer instructed yesterday.
Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain yesterday, Starmer said: “The Labour party in opposition needs to be the Labour party in power, and a government doesn’t go on picket lines, a government tries to resolve disputes,” but with MP’s ignoring him left, right an centre, is anyone really listening to the Labour leader?
Starmer’s latest comments came after several Labour MPs, including shadow ministers, joined protests during strikes last month.
Rail strikes have seen 40,000 staff walk out today, with only one fifth of services across the country set to be running. The strike follows a dispute over jobs, pay and working conditions – “This is just a game by the unions,” transport secretary, Grant Shapps, told Sky News.
It seems that some in Starmer’s party think he has lost his way. Defying the party line, Sam Tarry, joined striking rail workers at Euston Station today. “If we don’t make a stand today, people’s lives could be lost,” Tarry told ITV.
Later, speaking to Sky News, Tarry added: “Labour will always stand on the side of workers.” But is that true? Keir Starmer has made his anti-strike position clear. He previously threatened to discipline Labour MPs who joined the picket line last month, though did not follow through with it.
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This time, Starmer has plucked up the courage to remove the dissenters; what is clear though is that, yet again, many in the Labour Party are not on the same page.
The general secretary of the RMT/media sensation, Mick Lynch, said: “The Labour Party have got themselves in a pickle. They don’t seem to know what direction they are facing in.”
Labour needs to “get in tune with where working-class people are,” Lynch added.