Labour MP Calls for ‘General Strike’ to Overthrow Brexit, Government

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A Labour MP has called for a “general strike” to overthrow the Tory Government and potentially allow for a second referendum that could block Brexit.

The demand from Laura Smith, who has represented Crewe and Nantwich since the 2017 snap general election, received a standing ovation from Labour supporters, including the shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon.

Despite enthusiastically standing and applauding, Mr Burgon later denied he or the Labour Party backed such a strike.

Speaking at a Momentum-run fringe event, Ms Smith had declared: “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 our brothers in the trade unions to bring an end to this Government with a general strike.”

After the cheering crowd rose to their feet, she commented: “That went better than I thought it would’ve gone.”

Ms Smith was briefly a shadow cabinet office minister, despite only being in Parliament a few months, but resigned when Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn moved to stop the UK staying in the European Union’s Single Market after Brexit.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said he thought Ms Smith “got a little bit carried away” with her general strike comments and implied she was naive because she is so new to Parliament.

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.”

Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, was asked about her colleague’s comments on the same show.

“Well that’s not our position,” she said. “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.”

An eight-day general strike coordinated by the Trades Union Congress took place in support of coal miners in 1926. It is widely considered a failure and disastrous for those involved.

The Conservative Government of Stanley Baldwin remained in power, despite the strike aiming to unseat him, and caused huge disruption for workers and the nation.


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