Lisa Nandy pictured with strikers on picket line despite Keir Starmer's ban

Lisa Nandy pictured with strikers on picket line despite Keir Starmer's ban
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Tom Evans

By Tom Evans

Published: 01/08/2022

- 15:22

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 10:47

Shadow Levelling Up Secretary Lisa Nandy has been pictured visiting a picket line in Wigan

Labour frontbencher Lisa Nandy has visited striking workers on a picket line.

A photograph shared by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) showed Ms Nandy meeting striking workers at a Wigan picket line.

The image caption read: "Thank you to @lisanandy for joining the Wigan picket line today. It means a lot to our members."

The move from the MP for Wigan comes despite party leader Sir Keir Starmer’s comments that Labour must move from being a “party of protest”.

Lisa Nandy speaking to strikers in Wigan
Lisa Nandy speaking to strikers in Wigan
Communication Workers Union/Twitter

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer
Kirsty O'Connor

Sir Keir has said he supports people’s right to strike, but is seeking to contain a row with unions and the left wing of his party.

An ally of Ms Nandy said: “LOTO (Leader of the Opposition) were aware in advance. She went down to show her support for constituents campaigning for better pay and conditions at a really tough time, as you’d expect.

“As Keir said in the Mirror piece yesterday, we support their right to do that, and what they need now is a Labour government so they don’t feel like they’re on their own when times are tough.”

His decision to sack Sam Tarry proved particularly controversial after the shadow transport minister gave broadcast interviews from a picket line.

Sir Keir, who previously banned frontbenchers from joining strikers on picket lines, said he sacked Mr Tarry for making up policy “on the hoof” in defiance of the party’s “collective responsibility”.

But the move was met with fury by Labour’s left wing and trade union base.

Sharon Graham, Unite's general secretary, said she was “aghast” at Sir Keir’s approach to striking workers.

After Ms Nandy's picture was shared on social media, Mr Tarry – MP for Ilford South – tweeted: “Great to see @lisanandy on the picket line.

"Senior Labour politicians need to demonstrate loud and clear that our Party is on the side of ordinary working people who are fighting back against this anti-worker Government.”

Mr Tarry was not the only Labour MP to defy Sir Keir last week, either.

Brent Central MP Dawn Butler, Birmingham Hall Green MP Tahir Ali, Gateshead MP Ian Mearns and South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck were among those sharing photos of themselves on social media from picket lines.

And Jeremy Corbyn, the former party leader and now independent MP, said: “There are three Labour MPs here on this picket line, and no doubt there are all over the country.

“I think Members of Parliament represent their constituencies and hear day to day what their constituents want, and they’re doing the right thing by being there with the workers in dispute.”

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