Politics

Labour’s trade union donors threaten funding cuts over Starmer’s strike stance

UNION barons will not bankroll Labour in a snap General Election — seriously damaging Sir Keir Starmer’s bid for power.

The paymasters staged an effective party coup last night following the sacking of frontbencher Sam Tarry after he joined a picket line.

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Union barons will not bankroll Labour in a snap General Election — seriously damaging Sir Keir Starmer’s bid for powerCredit: Getty

Several union chiefs told MPs they will cut their cash supply unless Sir Keir fully backs them in their dispute over pay and conditions.

A source said: “The unions will turn off the taps when it comes to funding the party if the new PM calls a quick election. 

“They need clear direction from Keir that he is on their side if he wants the cash to flow. The leader should see this week as a seminal moment.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “There’s no point giving money to a party that is basically sticking two fingers up to workers. It’s almost like an abusive relationship.”

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Funding cuts from militant unions would seriously dent the party’s chances — with around £10million handed over since Starmer became leader in April 2020.

There is fury that Tarry, who is dating party deputy Angela Rayner, was ditched as Shadow Transport Minister for making policy “on the hoof” on the picket line.

Starmer has told his shadow team not to join picket lines in support of striking rail workers.

A source said: “The unions simply will not fill the war chest while Keir isn’t backing us, they have said as much. He also doesn’t have the pulling power of Tony Blair who could bring in money from business.”

Mr Tarry also claims party chiefs are trying to drive out left-wing MPs.

He said: “I would say there is a concerted effort to get rid of certain MPs who stand up for trade unions and stand for a more progressive form of politics and who might even dare to call themselves socialists.

“And, at the same time, to block people getting on to shortlists all across the country who again happen to be more left-leaning and happen to come from the trade union movement.”

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But one frontbencher said Sir Keir needs to “pick a fight” with some of his own MPs and strip them of the whip if they go on a picket line.

They added: “We have to cut those on picket lines adrift. We have to look like a party of government and not a party of protest.”



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