Matt Wrack rips Labour to pieces over Tory MP

  • Post last modified:May 15, 2024
  • Reading time:6 mins read

Where classist Tories tread, Labour no longer fears to follow. At least, that seems increasingly the case given its latest shenanigans surrounding the Tory defector Natalie Elphicke. Now nestled amongst its MPs, Elphicke’s history of supporting rancid right-wing policies has dredged up some serious concerns.

Not least among these is her distinctly anti-union stances. However, in a searing interview, Fire Brigades Union (FBU) president Matt Wrack demolished any doubts Elphicke is an ally to the working class.

Elphicke a “cheerleader” for anti-strike legislation

Naturally, Labour Party heavyweights have been scrabbling over themselves to defend Labour’s ill-judged decision. Amongst this clamour was Labour chair Anneliese Dodds’s claim that Elphicke has “Labour values in her heart, in her core”:

However, Wrack’s interview on Sky News masterfully ripped this apart:

Natalie Elphicke – “cheerleader” for “nasty, undemocratic” anti-strike legislation about sums it up. In particular, Elphicke voted for the Tories’ notorious Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act that restricts the right to strike.

Yes, this would be the notorious anti-strike law that unions, lawyers, and the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) have all unequivocally slammed. Notably, the JCHR pointed out that the act flouts “human rights obligations” under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

So as Wrack rightly raised, Labour’s new MP is vastly at odds with its pledge to repeal this legislation after the election.

Elphicke’s “disgraceful” attack on firefighters

Then came the clincher. In his letter he highlighted exactly why Elphicke is “incompatible” with the Labour Party. He wrote that:

On Tuesday 12 March this year, she spoke in support of the new anti-union laws by blaming striking firefighters for the deaths of three people during a past national firefighters’ strike.

This is a disgraceful attack on firefighters, who protect the public and save lives every day, sometimes at great personal cost.

Although, throwing workers under the bus is of course very New New Labour. As recently as 8 May, Labour stirred up a shitstorm when it watered down its previous workers rights policy plans. Unite lambasted Labour’s “betrayal”, particularly on seeming rollback over its promise to ban fire and rehire. As the Guardian reported:

Key to the criticism from trade unions were changes to the wording of plans to end fire and rehire – removing a direct promise to end the dismissal of workers for rejecting a worse contract.

However, Labour purportedly contested this:

But Labour sources said it was not their intention to abandon that pledge and said the party would legislate within 100 days with an employment rights bill that would ban the practice.

Again, Elphicke’s record on this may also be instructive. Co-editor of Tribune Magazine Karl Hansen shared a video of the Dover MP as protesters dragged her for her rank hypocrisy:

So, Elphicke – who shot down Labour’s fire and rehire bill – is now going to support the party’s next attempt to curb the appalling practice, then?

Of course, a post-election U-turn wouldn’t be out of place in Starmer’s renege and repeat party. It sure isn’t the first time his party has ditched its promises when the going got minutely tougher. Or more to the point, when Labour’s new rich corporate paymasters came calling.

Strike-busting, union-bashing Elphicke definitively does away with any lingering pretence Starmer’s Labour is the party of the working class.

Feature image via Guardian – Youtube/Sky News/the Canary

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