Great Britain

Labour conference 2021 – live: Shadow minister accused of resignation ‘sabotage’ as Starmer invokes Blair

Shadow cabinet minister quits after Keir Starmer orders him to oppose higher minimum wage

The resignation of Andy McDonald appears to be a “planned sabotage” of the Labour Party Conference, a frontbencher said.

Mr McDonald, until yesterday shadow employment secretary, quit on the claim that he was told by Sir Keir Starmer’s office to argue against a £15 per hour minimum wage and the raising of statutory sick pay to the living wage figure.

Ian Murray, shadow Scottish secretary, today said the resignation “looks as if it might be a planned sabotage of conference” rather than being about principle.

In a speech later today, Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow home secretary, is set to invoke the famous Blair-era slogan “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” while pledging to tackle antisocial behaviour if elected.

He will accuse the Conservatives of being “soft on crime and soft on causes on crime” in a knowing reference to the New Labour pledge.

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Recap of last night’s resignation

Catch up on last night’s resignation row with Jon Stone’s coverage:

Andy McDonald says party is ‘more divided than ever’ under Sir Keir

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McDonald resignation looks like ‘planned sabotage'

A frontbencher has suggested the resignation of Ian McDonald over the £15 minimum wage row was aimed to sabotage Sir Keir Starmer’s first in-person party conference.

Asked about the departure on the BBC, Ian Murray, shadow Scottish secretary, said: “We're not quite sure why he resigned yesterday, he seems to have said one thing and written another.

“That looks as if it might be a planned sabotage of conference, rather than it being about any principle.”

He added: “This was a policy, don't forget, that Andy McDonald and the shadow cabinet wrote, he put through shadow cabinet and he launched with much acclaim in the conference hall 48 hours before he resigned.

“We're not quite sure why he resigned, but these things happen in politics and we're all very angry and frustrated that the headlines are being dominated by one person when we should be talking about the big issues of the future.”

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