No, Keir Starmer is not threatened by Sam Tarry or Labour splits over strikes

Sam Tarry, the former shadow transport minister, said of his sacking: “This wouldn’t have happened under Tony Blair.” Well, he was only 13 when Clare Short, the shadow transport secretary, walked out of a TV interview rather than answer a question about whether she supported the London Underground strike in 1996.

Of course it would have happened under Blair, because Blair took the line now taken by Keir Starmer that a government in waiting shouldn’t take sides in industrial disputes.

Tarry is trying to present himself as the victim of “a huge and catastrophic mistake”, namely Starmer’s ban on frontbench MPs from picket lines. But it won’t wash, because he made a mistake himself, which was to give media interviews without clearing them with his boss, Louise Haigh, the shadow transport secretary, or with the leader’s office. Not only that, in those interviews he supported an inflation-matching pay rise, when Labour policy is that it is up to unions and employers to negotiate.


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