York’s Labour MP says all her colleagues should be out on the picket line with striking workers – putting her at odds with party leader Sir Keir Starmer.
Labour sacked shadow frontbencher Sam Tarry today (Wednesday) after he defied Sir Keir’s ban on joining picket lines in support of striking rail workers.
But Rachael Maskell told YorkMix that all Labour MPs “should be out on the picket lines supporting rail workers” – including Sir Keir himself.
Rachael Maskell on YorkMix Radio
She said members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union who walked out today were “standing up for their rights for public safety across the railways as well as their own safety, to ensure there’s better job security in the future and also for decent pay”.
Ms Maskell, who represents York Central, said when she stood on the picket line in York strikers told her that planned cutbacks could put vulnerable passengers at risk.
She told David Dunning on YorkMix Radio: “Every single Labour MP should be out on the picket lines supporting rail workers, and indeed any worker that takes industrial action, to ensure that we are advocating for reconciliation; to ensure that we get the end results that are needed in a dispute, to take that case to government.
“But also to remember what the Labour Party is there for. It is to stand up for working people, it is to make sure that there is fairness across our economy and our society.”
Asked about Sir Keir’s position Ms Maskell said:
I believe that Keir Starmer would really benefit from visiting picket lines because he’ll hear directly from working people why they’re taking industrial action, and he will be a stronger leader and a better advocate.
Leadership isn’t about standing on platforms and making speeches. It is about getting alongside your people, hearing their stories and representing them – and that’s what I want to see the Labour Party doing.
Earlier, a Labour Party spokesperson had said this about the Sam Tarry sacking: “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 front bench 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 front bench.”