Andy McDonald, Labour MP for Middlesbrough and former Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, has resigned from the Shadow Cabinet after his position became “untenable”.
He felt that being asked to speak against a £15 per hour minimum wage and against Statutory Sick Pay at the Living Wage went against his convictions. He therefore resigned from his post as Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights and Protections during the party’s annual conference in Brighton.
“After many months of a pandemic, when we made commitments to stand by key workers, I cannot now look 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,” he wrote in his resignation letter to party leader Sir Keir Starmer.
“We live in a time when the 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 working people, fail to realise that is a bitter blow.”
Manuel Cortes, general secretary of transport union TSSA, was sorry to see him go. “It’s sad to see Andy leave his post because he has proven time and again to be a doughty fighter for working people,” he said.
“Our union worked closely with Andy during his time as Shadow Transport Secretary and saw first-hand his deep commitment to social justice, not just in transport policy but across the board.
“This was demonstrated again in his most recent role around employment rights, which has never been more important than in the teeth of a pandemic.
“Andy is a man of principle and honour to his boots. Our union thanks him for all his work and though we are dismayed to see him leave his post, we look forward to working closely with him in the future.
“Frankly, our leadership needs to realise that our Party is a broad church and we need more people with Andy’s type of politics on our frontbench not less”.