Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey today (Wednesday) praised the 44 Labour MPs who voted against the government’s workfare legislation yesterday for “standing up for core Labour values of decency and justice.”
And he warned the Party front bench that its decision to abstain in the Commons vote sent the wrong message to millions of people being targeted by the cuts, the unemployed in particular.
“Those Labour MPs who voted against the government last night saved the party’s honour. Abstention in the vote risks being seen as tacit acceptance of forced labour. Let’s be clear - it cannot be right that unemployed people are required to work for nothing but JSA payments.
“Our party needs to be seen standing shoulder-to-shoulder with all those suffering from the consequences of the Con-Dems' failed economic strategy, not giving a green light to any suggestion that the poor should pay for the crisis.
“Labour needs to understand that it is the opposition to a disastrous government waging class war against the poor. Labour failed to provide that opposition yesterday, with the honourable exception of the 44 MPs who stood up for core Labour values of decency and justice.”
“Labour is in a strong position to win the next election – it is beginning to set out a new approach which breaks with 30 years of neo-liberal economics, the policies that caused the crisis. But it will only succeed if it continues on that radical path - if the Party listens to the New Labour undead rather than confront the coalition on basic issues of social justice it will lose. Labour must not make this kind of mistake again.”
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