politics

Labour battles to get conference back on track following Andy McDonald’s resignation



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abour is battling to get its party conference back on track after the dramatic resignation of a shadow cabinet minister.

Andy McDonald suggested the leader was not honouring “our commitment to socialist policies” as he quit as shadow employment rights secretary in a blow for any attempt to portray a united front.

He accused Sir Keir Starmer of abandoning the pledges of his leadership campaign and struck out at the his office for instructing 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.

The left-winger is scheduled to appear at a discussion at the fringes of the conference in Brighton on Tuesday with former leader, and ally, Jeremy Corbyn.

The row threatens to overshadow the message the wider shadow cabinet wishes to present, with shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth announcing that a Labour government would double dementia spending.

He will also accuse the Government under the Tories of creating a two-tier health system that is threatening a universal NHS.

Labour also wants to present itself as being tough on crime and its causes when shadow health secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds presents a plan to “bring back neighbourhood policing”.

Sir Keir has thanked Mr McDonald for his work and said his focus is on “winning the next general election” as he sought to move on from the resignation of a member of his top team.

In his resignation letter, Mr McDonald wrote: “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.



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