Friday, 7 Aug 2020

Jeremy Corbyn faces furious backlash as he’s accused of blaming Tories for Labour problem

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Working conditions for people employed in Leicester’s textile factory came under the spotlight when the city was kept in lockdown because of its high rate of COVID-19 infections.  And the former Labour leader has now dawn attention to a tweet from shadow employment rights secretary Andy McDonald who has written to ministers demanding action.

He missed out the words ‘Labour controlled’ when referring to problems in Leicester

Bryan Holt

Mr McDonald tweeted: “The Government must tackle the widespread issues of underpayment and unsafe working conditions that have been brought to light again by the terrible treatment of workers in the garment industry in Leicester.”

Mr Corbyn commented: “This is what happens when the Government cuts funding of public bodies and doesn’t prioritise or respect workers’ rights.”

But his remarks were met with an angry response on social media.

Twitter user Norman Robinson pointed out Leicester had Labour MPs, a Labour Mayor and a Labour-dominated city council.

He said: “Sorry Labour MPs and council, just what did they do?

“Same in Rotherham, Rochdale and Newcastle. So just who is responsible?”

Brian Holt tweeted: “He missed out the words ‘Labour controlled’ when referring to problems in Leicester.”

Lynda Morris tweeted: “Perhaps the Labour MPs and those who have been complicit in this for years could be found accountable.”

Another Twitter user responded to Mr Corbyn’s tweet by saying: “I like how you have completely bypassed the reprehensible behaviour of the sweatshop owners themselves to score points.

“Surely the folk responsible for the slave-driving should be held accountable first eh? Just a thought.”

And Ken John tweeted: “It would be nice if the Conservatives were able to ask an Urgent Question of the Opposition on their lamentable performances in Leicester.

“I’d pay good money to watch that.”

Earlier, Home Secretary Priti Patel acknowledged there was a “modern-day scourge” taking place in the textile sector with regards to the exploitation of workers.

Ms Patel called on local authorities to do “so much more in terms of stepping in” and confirmed that the Home Office had established a cross-Government task force that will be on the ground in Leicester “to absolutely ask all the difficult questions of all institutions”.

It followed reports that factory workers in Leicester were earning less than the minimum wage amid unsafe working conditions with no evidence of the implementation of social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

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She told MPs: “I think local authorities themselves need to do so much more in terms of stepping in and going in to investigate with trading standards.”

“We have established a cross-Government task force that will be on the ground in Leicester to absolutely ask the difficult questions of all institutions and organisations across Leicester with regards to this scourge that is taking place in the textile sector.”

The senior official at the Home Office promised a “robust” response on the issue.

Permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft told MPs on the Public Accounts Committee: “We have been working closely with our operational partners and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority on the allegations from Leicester for some time.

“We are now working very closely both at national and at local level to ensure that there is a robust response to the possibility of modern slavery events taking place there.”

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