'Labour more divided than ever': Andy McDonald quits shadow cabinet

Andy McDonald said quitting Sir Keir Starmer's shadow cabinet was the “most difficult decision” of his life. Credit: PA

Labour's Andy McDonald has resigned from Keir Starmer's shadow cabinet, telling the leader his party is "more divided than ever".

The Middlesbrough MP said he was stepping down as shadow employment rights and protections secretary after being asked to "go into a meeting to argue against a national minimum wage of £15 and against statutory sick pay at the living wage".

Mr McDonald, who also served in Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet, added: "This is something I could not do."

Speaking to broadcasters following his resignation, Mr McDonald said quitting the shadow cabinet was the “most difficult decision” of his life.

In a letter to Sir Keir, he wrote: "I joined your frontbench team on the basis of the pledges that you made in the leadership campaign to bring about unity within the party and maintain our commitment to socialist policies.

“After eighteen months of your leadership, our movement is more divided than ever and the pledges that you made to the membership are not being honoured. This is just the latest of many.”

Sir Keir said his "focus and that of the whole party is on winning the next general election” in response Mr McDonald's resignation.

He added: “I want to thank Andy for his service in the shadow cabinet.

“Labour’s comprehensive new deal for working people shows the scale of our ambition and where our priorities lie."

It comes after former shadow minister Barry Gardiner told ITV News the Labour Party is "absolutely united".

Tory Party chair Oliver Dowden seized on Mr McDonald’s resignation from the shadow cabinet to criticise the Labour Party.

He tweeted: “At #Lab21 Labour are divided and fighting among themselves. Now they are even resigning during their own party conference!

“Labour’s conference gets more chaotic by the minute. How can people trust them to run the country?”