Today has seen mostly back-bench MPs – and former Labour leader Ed Miliband – step forward to fill some of the gaping void left by Keir Starmer’s lack of opposition.
Former leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey raised the lack of substantial government response to the horrific crisis in living costs faced by millions in the UK and the imperative need to increase public sector pay, the minimum wage and welfare benefits:
Miliband added his voice and challenged blame-dodging Rishi Sunak on benefit cuts and his feeble excuses – and on Sunak’s ‘cryptocurrency’ foolishness:
And Andy McDonald stood up for Palestinians and named Israeli apartheid for what it is as he called for divestment and sanctions against that country’s regime for its appalling treatment of Palestinians and drew a feeble, even nonsensical response from the government who claimed that he shouldn’t use that word because it is a ‘legal term’ requiring international agreement – even though the UN long ago declared the Israeli system to be apartheid and Amnesty International and even Israeli human rights organisations agree:
Working-class backbencher Ian Byrne has not only worked in Parliament for a right to food to be enshrined in UK law, but co-founded the massively successful ‘Fans Supporting Foodbanks’ organisation of football supporters to help those in need. Now he is trying to push through that legal right in Westminster and he spoke passionately about why it matters:
And outside Parliament, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has taken action to show how intervention by the authorities can help ordinary people:
Starmer, by contrast, hasn’t even merited the term ‘damp squib’ on the massive issues facing the poor and vulnerable in this country – and he both ignored Labour’s sovereign conference when it called for sanctions against apartheid Israel and locked Labour’s young member section out of its social media accounts when it agreed with Amnesty that Israel is an apartheid state.
The emptiness of the void that he personifies is made all the clearer whenever anyone steps up and does the job all Labour MPs are supposed to be doing.
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