Cracks show in Starmer's party conference as John McDonnell warns Labour is 'irrelevant'

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    Cracks are begining to show in the Labour Party Conference, as a veteran Labour MP has warned Sir Keir Starmer that the party is becoming “irrelevant”. John McDonnell said there is a “huge” movement growing outside of the Labour party but implied that Sir Keir’s party is not doing enough to respond. Speaking at a “Labour Assembly Against Austerity” event on the fringes of the party conference, Mr McDonnell said: “What I’m worried about in terms of this conference, is we have a huge build of a movement outside of this party.

    “What we seem to be doing is constructing an organisational form that is almost irrelevant to that movement.

    “I don’t say that lightly in any way.”

    This comes as the country has been rocked by strike action throughout the summer, amid a mounting cost of living crisis.

    Sir Keir has fallen short of standing with the striking workers, initially banning ministers from joining workers on the picket lines.

    However, the policy appears to have been loosened after several ministers ignored the advice.

    Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham will not be attending the party conference, taking place in Liverpool this week, as a result of the party’s failure to fully support striking workers.

    She called for the party to correct the impression that it is “wrong” to be on the picket line.

    Ms Graham warned that it is “a miscalculation by anybody, whether it’s Keir Starmer or Liz Truss, quite frankly, in assuming that unions are a hated beast”.

    Mr McDonnell went on to question Sir Keir’s decision to support the Government’s 1 percent tax cut, which was unveiled at the mini budget earlier this week.

    The Labour leader lent his support to the policy, telling the BBC: “I’ve long made the argument that we should reduce the tax burden on working people.”

    READ MORE: Starmer facing Labour civil war as party splits on key tax cuts

    Mr McDonnell is not the first person to oppose Sir Keir’s position on this issue, with prominent Labour figure Andy Burnham earlier today also rejecting the 1 percent tax cut.

    Speaking to Sky News, just an hour before Sir Keir threw his weight behind the policy, Mr Burnham told Sky News: “I don’t think it’s a time for tax cuts, it’s a time to support people through this crisis.”

    Mr Burnham also cast doubt on Sir Keir’s leadership, calling on the politician to “be bolder” in his navigation of the party.

    However, he was clear that the Labour leader still has his support.

    The MP for Greater Manchester said: “This is the time for Labour to move up and set out an alternative that people can support.

    “I want to be clear, I am supporting Keir, I want to party to unite here in Liverpool, they’ve got us in a position where we have a clear and sustained poll lead which is no small achievement. It’s a big achievement.

    “I think the Government have put out an opportunity now for Labour to put out a programme that connects with ordinary people.

    “So yes, I would say, be bolder, be clear about what we will do.”



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