Row over childcare ramps up as parents are left in “impossible position”

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Assistant general secretary Steve Turner has secured the backing of United Left (UL) in the race to succeed general secretary Len McCluskey. In an online hustings held by the group on Saturday, he went head-to-head with Howard Beckett before members of the group voted 370 to 367 in favour of Turner. UL reported that there was over 50% attendance at the event, describing the contest as “stringently reinforced and verified”. However, supporters of Beckett have released a dossier outlining 30 “violations” in the ballot process, including claims that some members didn’t receive a ballot. They have suggested that “had these violations not occurred, Howard Beckett would have recorded more votes than Steve Turner”. McCluskey’s term is due to end in 2022 but a successor will be chosen earlier with an election taking place next year.

Meanwhile, Lisa Nandy did the rounds on the Sunday politics shows. She said Labour “got it wrong on Russia” in relation to the Salisbury attack, and that the party should not have “equivocated” or “called for dialogue”. Nandy also called for sanctions for Chinese officials involved in human rights abuses relating to the treatment of Uighur Muslims – similar to the way in which the UK is targeting high-ranking Russian officials in the Putin administration. We can expect to hear more from the Shadow Foreign Secretary on the matter today, as Dominic Raab is due to update parliament on the escalating dispute with China. He is expected to announce a suspension of Britain’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong and Nandy will likely push the government to go further, although the Foreign Secretary has already rejected her proposal for sanctions.

Elsewhere, Labour is continuing its line of attack on childcare as parents face an increasingly difficult few weeks ahead. Starmer has accused the government of putting parents in an “impossible position” by calling for a return to offices without providing adequate support for childcare. The Labour leader has pointed out that the PM’s announcement on Friday – that the public should return to work – came just as schools broke up for the summer holiday. At the same time, Boris Johnson is today boasting of delivering his year-on-year increase in per-pupil funding, one of the Tories’ 2019 manifesto commitments. Labour has said that this will still leave children worse off than in 2010, highlighting analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies that shows that the plans don’t reverse the cuts in school spending seen over the past decade. Both Starmer and Johnson will be out visiting schools today to make their points. Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.

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