Trade unions join calls for immediate general election

‘It is clear we can’t go on like this, we need a general election now.’

Polling Station

Calls for a general election to be held now are being ramped up with trade unions joining the growing movement for an early vote on who should govern the country, amid the worsening cost-of-living crisis.

Thousands took to the streets of London on November 5 to demand an early general election, as well as greater support for people struggling with spiralling living costs. The “Britain is Broken” march on parliament was organised by the People’s Assembly campaign group. Speakers included Mick Lynch and Jeremy Corbyn. Among the protestors were climate activists waving Extinction Rebellion flags.

Saturday’s protest followed a demonstration on November 3, when over 600 trade unionists congregated outside Parliament, lobbying ministers for a general election and to introduce measures to help people who are struggling with the cost of living.

Warning that the public will not tolerate the country having five Tory prime ministers in just six years, Frances O’Grady said its is time the public has their say.

“It’s time to stop the Tories playing musical chairs with the post of prime minister. We’ve got a simple message: The Tories have no mandate for more pay cuts and austerity. We demand better. General election now!” said the TUC leader.

The rally also saw ministers being urged to introduce measures to help households with rising bills. These included a £15 an hour minimum wage, an uplift on universal credit payments, a ban on zero-hour contracts, and to oppose a new anti-trade union law proposal which could make it impossible for workers to strike.

The unions also warned against Jeremy Hunt introducing a new wave of austerity in the autumn budget which is being held on November 17.

Paddy Lillis, general secretary of the retail workers’ union Usdaw, said: “We now face the prospect of a Budget that will punish those who are already struggling to make ends meet in a cost-of-living crisis, for the horrendous failings of a Conservative government.

“Usdaw members are rightly outraged by the arrogance of the Conservatives, who think they can change leaders and policies without going to the country.

“It is clear we can’t go on like this, we need a general election now.”

Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP and national campaign coordinator, joined calls for an early general election, saying: “Rishi Sunak has no mandate from the public, no mandate from his party and now he has no platform either.

“The Tories crashed the economy. If he really thinks he can make working people pay for it then he must call a general election.”

Public support for an early vote is building momentum. More than 148,000 people have now signed the Mirror’s petition on the 38 Degrees campaign calling for a general election now.  

A separate petition on the UK parliament website calling for an immediate general election to ‘end the chaos of the current government,’ has amassed over 895,000 signatures.

Meanwhile, a third petition making the same demand that was launched by the Independent has attracted more than 466,000 signatures.

The petition reminds that not a single vote was cast to put Rishi Sunak in power.

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

Image credit: Pixabay – mounsey

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