BRIGHTON, England — U.K. Labour leader Keir Starmer was hit with a resignation from his top team as the party’s annual conference got into full swing.
Shadow Employment Rights Secretary Andy McDonald accused Starmer of breaking his promises to members and failing to unite the opposition movement.
“I joined your frontbench team on the basis of your pledges that you made in the leadership campaign to bring unity within the party and maintain our commitment to socialist policies,” McDonald wrote in a letter to Starmer. “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 honored.”
Starmer was already under fire from the left of the party for apparent U-turns on nationalizing energy firms and for pushing through changes to the Labour rulebook to prevent hard left candidates contesting the leadership.
McDonald said he was tipped over the edge after Starmer’s office told him to argue against a minimum wage of £15 per hour and against statutory sick pay at the living wage. “This is something I could not do,” he added. McDonald exit comes after he unveiled a package of workplace protections Labour would implement if in power.
The resignation is a blow to Starmer, who is facing criticism that he’s failed to make electoral inroads against the governing Conservatives since he was elected to the post in April 2020.
Responding to the exit, Starmer thanked McDonald for his shadow cabinet stint.
And he added: “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.”
This story was updated to correct McDonald’s job title.