‘Common Sense Minister’ blasted out of touch after tirade against 4-day week 

The Tory MP has been taken apart after deeming support for a 4-day week 'socialist madness’

Esther McVey common sense tsar

People have found it hard to see the common sense in Esther McVey’s recent attack on the four-day week, as Britain’s unofficially designation ‘common sense tsar’ has been taken apart for blasting support for the scheme as “socialist madness”.

In an opinion piece for the Express, Esther McVey attempted to demonise trade unions which she accused of “calling the shots over Labour” and took aim at the PCS union representing civil servants over its calls for a four-day working week. 

She wrote that the “last thing the country needs” is a return to the “bad old days of union dominance with a weak Labour leader appeasing them”. Ironic given the current state of affairs 14 years of a Conservative government has left the country in.

The 4 Day Week Campaign organisation wrote a scathing response to McVey, blasting the MP for Tatton as out of touch with public opinion, whilst also thanking her for showing how many people actually want a four-day week through the responses to the article. 

“Sometimes you can judge the success of an idea by the kind of person who rejects it,” the organisation wrote on X.

“The 4-day week is a non-partisan innovation with support from across the political spectrum. Two-thirds of the public support a govt-backed trial. Esther, you’re out of touch!”

A large majority of the public (65%) support the government exploring the introduction of a 4-day working week with no loss of pay for workers, the most recent survey found

Furthermore, following the world’s biggest ever four-day working week trial, most of the UK companies who took part made the policy permanent, with the majority of organisations finding the scheme had a positive impact. 

SNP MP Stewart McDonald asked why Tory MPs were so “tone deaf” to “basic stuff like this”. 

“A defence manufacturing business in my own constituency switched to a four-day week to combat bigger firms poaching staff. The result? Greater retention, job satisfaction and productivity up. Why are the Tories so tone deaf to basic stuff like this?” he wrote on X. 

While a historian highlighted on X: “One of the biggest historical successes of the labour movement is winning time for workers to rest and recreate. The same arguments against the 4 day week were used to justify the 6 day week and the 60 hour week.”

Express readers also took to the comments section to highlight some discrepancies they had with McVeys claims in the article, versus the reality of affairs. 

One reader wrote: “This government has collapsed living standards so much that many cannot afford to live working 5 days per week.”

Another commented: “McVey thinks her job as an MP is writing articles for the Express and chatting on the sofa on GB News.”

McVey used to host a weekly show on GB News with her husband, also a Tory MP. 

Others countered her claim that the 4-day week would burn taxpayers money, by drawing attention to a £8,750 claim the MP made for a personal photographer in 2019, paid for by the taxpayer. 

(Image credit: Wikimedia)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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