I write to you this evening as a friend, comrade and as my Member of Parliament for Cambridge.
This evening I have learnt in distress that Labour Party frontbenchers are being instructed not to support the RMT strikes and to refuse to attend picket lines across the country. As you will probably know there will be a picket line tomorrow morning at the Cambridge Signal Box which will be supported by local trade unionists in solidarity with rail workers.
I know as a fellow Trade Unionist and former employee of Unison you must be very distressed by this instruction by our party leadership. As Chair of the Cambridge and District Trades Council area I politely ask you to ignore this instruction and as Kate Osborne has already done prepare a resignation letter from the Shadow Cabinet if necessary.
I think an action by a respected member of the Shadow Cabinet like yourself would not just show our comrades in the RMT that they can rely on our solidarity, as I am certain many have in the past given to our party and our movement; it would also strengthen the hand of many in the Shadow Cabinet who will view this instruction an insult to their constituents and the trade union movement this party was founded to represent in parliament.
As you know I have backed you as our MP since you were elected in 2015, a mere footsoldier in that campaign. I subsequently helped you to be reelected in 2017 as part of the Unite London and Eastern Political Committee and in that election as a committee room manager in King’s Hedges. I did the same for you in East Chesterton in December 2019 despite the fact that my late partner was desperately ill and died in July 2020.
I thank you for all the letters we have exchanged in the past, the condolences you gave which I knew to be very heartfelt, when Jo died of cancer.
I am optimistic, as I know you believe fundamentally in the progress trade unions bring to so many people.
I hope your principles are stronger than your ambition, because this is something I and many of your fellow members and constituents see in you.
Sadly if you are unable to stand up against the Tory austerity machine, fight with our comrades in the RMT, see beyond an utterly incoherent Labour message or really represent people who are desperate because of the Tory cost of living crisis, I cannot offer myself again to organise or campaign for you in subsequent elections.
I remain a Labour member and will of course vote for the Labour candidate at the next General Election.
I hope as Chair of the Trades Council but also a long term Labour Party organiser and activist you will understand how painful but in my view necessary this letter is.
Yours Sincerely, James Youd,
Chair, Cambridge Trades Council
Unite the Union member