Shadow chancellor savages Tory anti-strike laws as ‘attack on basic democracy’
LABOUR will reverse the Trade Union Bill “within the first week” of taking power, John McDonnell has said.
The shadow chancellor branded the anti-strike laws “an attempt to destroy trade unions in this country” and “an attack on basic democratic rights” at a public rally in support of Jeremy Corbyn at the Communication Workers Union conference on Tuesday night.
He said his party would do all it could to resist the passage of the watered-down Bill in its final stages, but added: “If they do get it through … within the first week of a Labour government we will reverse it.”
Mr McDonnell praised the House of Lords for its newfound radicalism and its role in amending and rejecting draconian Tory legislation including the Trade Union Bill.
But he quipped: “We will eventually abolish it, but we’ll use them while we can.”
The rally hosted turns from comedians including Shappi Khorsandi, Francesca Martinez and Grainne Maguire, and ended with a rousing rendition of Power in a Union from Billy Bragg.
Ms Khorsandi recalled how she first met Mr Corbyn while working with some homeless people at a youth affairs conference over two decades ago.
“I’ll never forget how he genuinely thought I was one of the homeless young people who had just come out of prison,” she smiled.
“He was so compassionate I didn’t want to correct him.”
CWU general secretary Dave Ward blasted the government’s latest attack on post offices, saying that the Tories “don’t care about people, they care about money.”
He rallied the crowd in support of striking junior doctors.
“When I hear and see this rubbish about imposing contracts, do you know what it makes me feel like doing?” he bellowed. “It makes me feel like taking a contract out on Mr Cameron.
“That’s a joke by the way — I meant a zero-hours contract!”
Even the shadow chancellor joined in with the jokes as he recalled last summer’s Labour leadership election.
“I admit it, I did all sorts of deals with different people,” he said. “I offered to sleep with anyone just to get [Jeremy Corbyn] on the ballot paper. Interestingly enough, no-one took me up.”