'We can't go on like this'

Unite delegate Agnes Tolmie speaks out against Labour rule changes

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Unite delegate Agnes Tolmie urged the Labour Party Conference on Sunday (September 26) to focus on defending working people instead of being bogged down in internal rules.

Speaking out against proposed changes to the way the Labour leadership is elected, she said, “Make no mistake – workers and communities are suffering. The country is in crisis. Emboldened employers are cutting jobs and pay.

“As we speak Unite’s General Secretary – Sharon Graham – is defending workers, making sure they do not pay the price for this pandemic,” Agnes added. “That is our focus. This is our task. These are the issues that matter to the voters across the country.

“We need the Labour leadership to be setting out a vision of how Labour will fight to defend communities and workers in their hour of need,” Agnes went on to say. “Instead we are being bounced into a situation where we are arguing about rule changes that most people don’t understand and don’t care about. This is not leadership.

“Is it any wonder that Labour is seen as irrelevant in my home of Scotland?” she implored conference. “Is it any wonder we trail this awful government in poll after poll?”

Agnes welcomed that an earlier mooted proposal to stop one member one vote had been dropped.

“This is a good start,” she said. “Of course we can discuss these other matters – but not now. Now we must let this conference focus on the issues that really matter to people.

“So Conference, let’s stop generating white noise that will make the electorate tune out and turn off,” Agnes went on to say. “We can’t go on like this. Say no to last minute back-room deals and let’s get on with discussing things that actually matter to the voters.”

By Hajera Blagg

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