Who is Sam Tarry, former shadow transport minister sacked by Keir Starmer over rail strikes?

·3-min read
Sam Tarry was fired from his role as shadow transport minister.  (UK Parliament)
Sam Tarry was fired from his role as shadow transport minister. (UK Parliament)

Labour has sacked Sam Tarry, the shadow transport minister, after he joined the picket line in support of striking rail workers.

The Ilford South MP joined striking workers at London’s Euston station on Wednesday, after Labour leader Keir Starmer told frontbench MPs to stay away.

Mr Tarry, who is in a relationship with Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the Labour party, said he had been standing "in solidarity with striking workers".

In a statement, Mr Tarry said: “These key workers kept our train services running throughout the pandemic, and were among Britain’s Covid heroes alongside the NHS and other public services.

“Those same workers have been forced to take action because they’re faced with a cost of lying crisis and rampant inflation caused by the Government’s mismanagement of our economy, leaving millions struggling to pay their bills and provide for their families, made worse by the fact that callous and incompetent Ministers refuse to even negotiate with their trade unions.

“Their dispute would not be taking place under a Labour Government, which would ensure that rail workers receive a fair wage.”

So who is Sam Tarry, the Labour MP fired by Keir Starmer?

Who is Sam Tarry?

Sam Tarry, 39, is the Labour MP for Ilford South and has been an MP since December 2019.

He was the Shadow Minister for Transport until he was fired by Keir Starmer on July 27, and was a former official for the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) union.

The MP married paediatrician Julia Fozard in 2016 and they have two children together. It is unclear when they separated.

Tarry is in a relationship with deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner, 42, who split from her husband in 2020.

The couple have not commented on how long they have been in a relationship but they were spotted together earlier this year.

Tarry and Rayner worked together on Rayner’s campaign to “transform the culture and practices of the Labour Party for the better” where he worked alongside the party chair as parliamentary lead (campaigns and organisation).

In 2020, he worked with Ed Miliband as a Parliamentary Private Secretary for his brief as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

When Tarry was appointed Shadow Minister for Transport, he said: “I’m delighted to have been promoted to the role of shadow transport minister.

“There are enormous challenges facing the industry as a result of the Covid pandemic – as we’ve witnessed most recently with the bailout of Transport for London – and the government must continue to protect the jobs of all those in the industry until we’ve recovered from this crisis.”

UK Train Strike | July 2022

Euston Station (PA)
Euston Station (PA)
Euston Station (Jeremy Selwyn)
Euston Station (Jeremy Selwyn)
Euston Station (Jeremy Selwyn)
Euston Station (Jeremy Selwyn)
Passengers on a platform at Waterloo station, London (PA)
Passengers on a platform at Waterloo station, London (PA)
Paddington Station (Jeremy Selwyn)
Paddington Station (Jeremy Selwyn)
Staff members work at the London Bridge station (REUTERS)
Staff members work at the London Bridge station (REUTERS)
Passengers stand on the concourse viewing the departures board at Waterloo station (PA)
Passengers stand on the concourse viewing the departures board at Waterloo station (PA)
A passenger buys tickets from a self-service ticket machine at Waterloo station, London, (PA)
A passenger buys tickets from a self-service ticket machine at Waterloo station, London, (PA)
St Pancras Station (Jeremy Selwyn)
St Pancras Station (Jeremy Selwyn)
A picket line outside Edinburgh’s Waverley Station during the last strike (PA Wire)
A picket line outside Edinburgh’s Waverley Station during the last strike (PA Wire)
A view of Southeastern trains in sidings near Ashford railway station in Kent (PA)
A view of Southeastern trains in sidings near Ashford railway station in Kent (PA)

Why was Sam Tarry fired?

Labour said Mr Tarry was fired for unauthorised media appearances, rather than solely for joining the picket line.

In a statement, the Labour party said: "This isn’t about appearing on a picket line. Members of the front bench sign up to collective responsibility. That includes media appearances being approved and speaking to agreed frontbench positions.

"As a government in waiting, any breach of collective responsibility is taken extremely seriously and for these reasons Sam Tarry has been removed from the front bench."

In response to being fired, Mr Tarry said in a statement: “It has been a privilege to serve on Labour’s front bench for the past two years and to have had the opportunity to speak up for hard-pressed workers who deserve so much better than the treatment they’ve received from this corrupt and out-of-touch Government.

“I remain committed to supporting the striking rail workers, and campaigning for a Labour victory at the next General Election, which I will fight for relentlessly from the backbenches.”