Labour insist a nationwide general strike is not party policy, after an MP called for one
Crewe MP Laura Smith suggested a nationwide walkout to help topple the Tory Government if Theresa May refuses to call an election.
She was speaking at The World Transformed festival, which is running alongside Labour Party Conference in Liverpool.
But Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long Bailey insisted it was not party policy.
She said: “Well that’s not our position. Laura is an absolutely amazing MP, she’s one of the North West MPs with myself, she’s so full of energy and enthusiasm, but we’re certainly not advocating general strikes as Labour Party policy.”
She added: “Just to make it perfectly clear a general strike is not Labour Party policy.”
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said he thought Ms Smith “got a little bit carried away” with her general strike comments.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Well, it’s not particularly helpful, but she is a new MP and she was at a big fringe event – nothing to do with the party organisation – and I’m sure she got a little bit carried away.”
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister said it would not be in the national interest to hold a general election before Brexit day on March 29.
Ms Smith, who is a member of the Unite and Unison unions and a former teacher, raised suggestion of a general strike at The World Transformed festival on Tuesday night.
“Today we’ve heard calls for a true people’s vote. A general election,” the MP for Crewe and Nantwich said.
“Comrades, we must topple this cruel and callous Tory Government as soon as we can. And if we can’t get a general election, we should organise with our brothers and sisters in the trade unions to bring an end to this government with a general strike.”
After the crowd rose to their feet in applause, she commented: “That went better than I thought it would’ve gone.”
An eight-day general strike co-ordinated by the Trades Union Congress took place in support of coal miners in 1926.
The Conservative government of Stanley Baldwin remained in power, although the strike had not expressly intended to unseat him.
A general strike today would need the major unions to take cooperative action in organising a mass walkout.
Under the Fixed-Term Parliament Act, no general election is due to be held until 2022.