Union leaders describe Keir Starmer's sacking of Sam Tarry as an 'insult'

Union leaders describe Keir Starmer's sacking of Sam Tarry as an 'insult'
Labour shadow transport minister Sam Tarry explains why he joined RMT picket ...

Union leaders are annoyed with Keir Starmer, after the Labour leader sacked one of his frontbenchers, Sam Tarry.

Tarry was sacked after he joined the picket line in Euston in support of the RMT union striking over pay and conditions yesterday contrary to the party's position, but the party said it was because of unauthorised media appearances.

Starmer had said on Tuesday the Labour party in opposition needs to be “the Labour party in power, and a government doesn’t go on picket lines”. Thus, Tarry had broken collective responsibility that comes from being a member of the shadow cabinet.

A spokesman for the party told Huffington Post that Tarry was not sacked because he stood on the picket line, but because he appeared on television without permission and did not speak to an “agreed frontbench position”.

But union leaders were not pleased with Unites' Sharon Graham calling it an "insult".

Here's a taste of some more of the backlash:

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Further to Tarry's stance, Kate Osborne and Paula Barker, as well as Labour whip Navendu Mishra and shadow environment minister Alex Sobel also defied their leader to join RMT strike action in June.

Party bosses decided not to sack them, although they were sent letters warning them about their future conduct.

A party spokesperson told Huffington Post: “The Labour Party will always stand up for working people fighting for better pay, terms and conditions at work.

“This isn’t about appearing on a picket line. Members of the frontbench sign up to collective responsibility. That includes media appearances being approved and speaking to agreed frontbench positions.

“As a government in waiting, any breach of collective responsibility is taken extremely seriously and for these reasons Sam Tarry has been removed from the frontbench.”

In a statement, Tarry said: “It has been a privilege to serve on Labour’s frontbench for the past two years and to have had the opportunity to speak up for hard-pressed workers who deserve so much better than the treatment they’ve received from this corrupt and out-of-touch Government.

“I remain committed to supporting the striking rail workers, and campaigning for a Labour victory at the next general election, which I will fight for relentlessly from the backbenches.”

Ah well, at least it isn't as divided as the Tory party.

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