The Scottish organiser of a major transport union has resigned from the Labour Party over the decision to sack a shadow minister for joining an RMT picket line.
Aslef boss Kevin Lindsay accused the UK party of being “more interested in trying to woo Tory voters” than representing working people following Sam Tarry’s removal from the opposition front bench.
The Ilford South MP stood alongside striking rail workers at London’s Euston Station on Wednesday during a 24-hour walkout over pay, conditions and jobs, while similar action took place across Scotland.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer later relieved Tarry of his duties, citing a “breach of collective responsibility”.
However Lindsay, who led the Aslef drivers’ strike earlier this summer over an initial “derisory” 2.2% pay offer, said the move was “just a step too far” and supported a move to “disaffiliate” the union from the party.
He praised Scottish Labour, led by Anas Sarwar, for its support of striking workers.
In an open letter, he wrote: “The Labour Party was and is meant to be the political wing of the trade union movement but now it’s more interested in trying to woo Tory voters in the shires of England than representing working people.
“As a democrat, I respect that Keir Starmer has been elected the leader but I truly believe his performance and policies are making it impossible for the Labour Party to return to power and that he should be removed from his position immediately.
“There needs to be a change in leadership and political direction but I sadly can’t see this happening and we will end up with Prime Minister [Liz] Truss for several years.”
He added: “Therefore I have made the decision not only to resign from the Labour Party but now also support the proposal for Aslef to disaffiliate from the Party.”
Asked whether he expected to be sacked by Starmer, Tarry previously told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I’ve no idea what Keir will decide to do but I know this, if Keir was in government right now, this dispute wouldn’t be happening.
“I have absolutely 100% confidence that any Labour Party MP would be in support of striking workers who have given up a day’s pay, a week’s pay or even longer.”