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Andy McDonald quits: Shadow cabinet minister resigns at Labour conference

·2-min read
Andy McDonald has quit his position  (PA Archive)
Andy McDonald has quit his position (PA Archive)

Andy McDonald has quit as shadow employment rights secretary on Monday.

Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour conference was rocked by the resignation of a shadow cabinet minister.

Mr McDonald accused the Labour leader of not honouring “our commitment to socialist policies”.

In his resignation letter, he said the leader’s office had instructed him to argue against a national minimum wage of £15 per hour and against statutory sick pay at the living wage.

“This is something I could not do,” Mr McDonald wrote in his resignation letter.

He added: “After many months of a pandemic when we made commitments to stand by key workers, I cannot now look at 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.

“We live in a time when people of this country have a renewed awareness of how important the work done by millions of low-paid workers truly is. To have the Labour Party, the party of the working people, fail to realise that is a bitter blow.

“I joined your frontbench team on the basis of the pledges that you made in the leadership campaign to bring about unity within the party and maintain our commitment to socialist policies.

“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. This is just the latest of many.”

The MP also served under Sir Keir’s predecessor Jeremy Corbyn.

As the news hit headlines, he told Sky News he quit without speaking to Mr Starmer.

Mr McDonald described it as “the most difficult decision of his life”.

In response to Andy McDonald's resignation, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "I want to thank Andy for his service in the shadow cabinet.

"Labour's comprehensive new deal for working people shows the scale of our ambition and where our priorities lie.

"My focus and that of the whole party is on winning the next general election so we can deliver for working people who need a Labour government."

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves earlier told a conference fringe event she was unaware of Mr McDonald’s resignation from the shadow cabinet.

“I don’t know the details about Andy McDonald’s decision,” she said. “I can’t answer questions about why he has resigned.

“I pay tribute to Andy McDonald for the great work he has done on the front bench.”

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