Reinstate Corbyn! Starmer pressured to bring back ex leader in bid to save Labour

Starmer should ‘hold out’ olive branch to Corbyn says Gardiner

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Sir Keir Starmer will face a fresh battle with Labour’s left amid accusations that the resignation of Andy McDonald from the shadow cabinet was an act of “planned sabotage” by critics of the party leader. The resignation has overshadowed Labour’s efforts to set out crime and health policies at the gathering in Brighton. Labour MP Barry Gardiner has urged Sir Keir to welcome Jeremy Corbyn back to the party as his popularity continues to dive.

Asked if Mr Corbyn should be reinstated, Mr Gardiner told GB News: “I think it would be a huge olive branch that the Leader should hold out, not just to Jeremy Corbyn but to the whole of the party.

“He said he wanted to unite our party.

“I think that would help do it.”

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds defended Sir Keir’s “strong leadership” after the leader succeeded in getting a package of internal rule changes through conference despite opposition from the left.

But he insisted Sir Keir’s actions were not an attempt to “defeat” the Jeremy Corbyn-supporting wing of Labour.

Mr Thomas-Symonds said: “What we have seen this week is, firstly, the changes to the leadership rules which were passed, and there was doubt as to whether they were going to be passed, but they were.

“It showed strong leadership from Keir and a determination that we would face outward to the country.”

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “It isn’t about defeating different bits of the party, the party has always been a broad church, but what we are doing is showing a very firm sense of direction under our new leadership.

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“Keir has shown that very strong sense of direction this week, he has got the rule changes through and we will be getting those policies out to the country now as well.”

Mr Thomas-Symonds said Labour would assess its policy on the minimum wage closer to the next general election.

He told Sky News: “We are very committed to a minimum wage of at least £10 an hour.

“But it is the responsible thing as we get closer to the election, to look at the rate of inflation, rate of wages, the wider economic situation for the precise figure that we will put before the country at the next general election.”

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He added: “I wish Andy well on the backbenches.”

Mr McDonald said he quit as shadow employment rights secretary after being ordered to argue against a national minimum wage of £15 per hour and against statutory sick pay at the living wage ahead of Tuesday’s vote.

“This is something I could not do,” Mr McDonald wrote.

In his resignation letter, he told Sir Keir: “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 honoured.”

Sir Keir responded: “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.”

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