Keir Starmer Hits Back At MP Who Quit Shadow Cabinet: 'You're Wrong'

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Labour party leader Keir Starmer (Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images)
Labour party leader Keir Starmer (Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images)

Keir Starmer has hit back at an MP who quit the shadow cabinet in the middle of Labour’s party conference.

The Labour leader said Andy McDonald was “wrong” for saying the party was “more divided than ever”.

The leftwinger sensationally resigned as shadow employment rights secretary on Monday in a row over the national minimum wage.

McDonald, an ally of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, told Starmer the party was “more divided than ever” and accused him of not honouring “our commitment to socialist policies”.

But Starmer told the BBC: “He is wrong about that, but my focus is on how we get Labour into position to win a general election.”

Starmer also said he was not prepared to see Labour suffer another disastrous general election defeat as it did under Corbyn.

Corbyn and McDonald (Photo: Ian Forsyth via Getty Images)
Corbyn and McDonald (Photo: Ian Forsyth via Getty Images)

“If that means tough decisions to change our party, which is what I did on Sunday, then I’m going to take those tough decisions.

“There will be some people who don’t agree with those changes and I understand that we’re a broad church in the Labour Party, but I’m not going to be deflected from my central mission which is to get a Labour government so we can change millions of lives.

“The conference took decisions on Sunday, very important decisions, we should all accept them, abide by them, and join together in our common intention that we need a Labour government. that is what I’m utterly focused on.”

Starmer insisted he was not happy to see the MP leave the shadow cabinet and called on his critics to get behind the changes introduced at the party conference.

It comes amid fresh factional rows at the Labour Party conference in Brighton which saw Corbyn denying there was a “Machiavellian plot” to oust Starmer.

Starmer also addressed questions surrounding whether his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn will get the Labour whip back, saying: “The ball is in Jeremy’s court.”

Corbyn was suspended from the party last year for his response to a damning Equality and Human Rights Commission report into anti-Semitism.

Despite him being reinstated as a member of the party last November, he does not have the whip meaning Corbyn is still an independent MP.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Barry Gardiner (Photo: Dan Kitwood via Getty Images)
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Barry Gardiner (Photo: Dan Kitwood via Getty Images)

Starmer said it was an issue between Corbyn and the chief whip, adding: “It has been going on for months and the ball is in Jeremy’s court.

“Jeremy was asked to apologise to take down the post that caused the problem the first place and to work with us.

“But I am trying to turn our party from a party that spends far too much time talking to itself to a party that talks to the country about the issues that matter to the country.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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