WATCH: Labour need to appear “ready to govern”, McMahon says on Tarry sacking

Katie Neame

Labour’s Jim McMahon has argued, when challenged over the sacking of Sam Tarry as shadow transport minister, that the party cannot tell the country it is “ready to govern” if it cannot organise itself in opposition.

McMahon discussed Tarry’s sacking on Sky News today, following the MP for Ilford South’s removal from his frontbench role after he joined members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) on a picket line on Wednesday.

The Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary said: “This is not about whether somebody was on a picket line or not. It was about, as I understand it, the broadcast round that was done without authorisation.

“And all of us sign up to a collective responsibility on the shadow cabinet and that’s very important. And when that isn’t followed, then the chief whip has to take action to ensure that discipline can be maintained.

“Because if we can’t organise ourselves in opposition, then we can’t look to the country and say that we’re ready to govern, and that’s the critical thing.”

McMahon stressed that he does not want to go into another general election and “wake up on that Friday and find that the Tories have won again”, adding: “We need to look to the country and show them that there is an alternative.”

He told viewers: “When it comes to being on the side of working people – listen, it was the Labour Party that right at the start of the year was calling for a windfall tax on the oil and gas giants.

“It was the Labour Party that voted down the National Insurance increases. And it’s the Labour Party that are bringing forward plans to deal with the cost-of-living crisis that people are going through.”

The Labour frontbencher said the trade unions are doing a “very important job at representing working people that are really feeling the pinch”.

He continued: “What the Labour Party needs to do is to look to the country and to convince the country that we are to be trusted with the nation’s finances, that we are to be trusted with public services and that we’re to be trusted for their families. And that’s about convincing them that we’re ready to govern.

“And so the role that we’re playing is about holding the government to account, of course, but it’s also about looking to the country and saying there is and alternative to the Tory flat-lining the economy.

“There is an alternative to the Tories completely stripping out our public services and there is an alternative to a government frankly that is standing by during a cost-of-living crisis that’s really hitting working people.”

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