Starmer faces resignation threats as Labour civil war erupts over major U-turn

Yvette Cooper put on spot on GMB over Starmer U-turn

A Labour frontbencher is threatening to resign from Sir Keir’s top team amid an enormous row about child benefits.

Last month, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Ashworth signalled Labour would abolish the two-child benefit cap, which he described as “heinous”.

Mr Ashworth told the Mirror that the policy, devised by former Chancellor George Osborne, is “absolutely keeping children in poverty”.

However this Sunday, Sir Keir told the BBC he would not scrap the policy.

He said: “We are not changing that policy”.

READ MORE: Starmer blasted for backing policy his own spokesman slammed as ‘heinous’

The comment sparked an immediate Labour civil war, with the grassroots group Momentum accusing Sir Keir of siding with the Daily Mail, and a member of the party’s NEC saying the policy is “wrong”.

Yesterday tensions ramped up even further, with a furious meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Angela Rayner was forced to toe the party line, saying that while she had not changed her view that the cap is “obscene and inhumane” the party must prove they are fiscally responsible.

Sir Keir’s statement drew criticism from across all wings of his party’s backbenchers, with Rosie Duffield, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Stella Creasy and Clive Efford slamming the move.

Mr Efford said: “This is a terrible mistake that we’ve made.”

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Ahead of today’s showdown Shadow Cabinet meeting, the Times reports that at least one member of Sir Keir’s top team has threatened to quit the frontbench such is their outrage.

A party official told the paper: “It’s a worry… The danger will not have passed until we are through a shadow cabinet meeting.”

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has cited Liz Truss as an excuse for not promising to abolish the policy.

She said: “We saw what happened with Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget.

“They ended up promising huge tax cuts for the rich. None of it was funded and they ended up crashing the economy.”

Abolishing the cap would cost around £1.3billion a year.

An Labour MP told Politico: “I think Keir misspoke and went too far, and then misjudged how strong the backlash would be”.

“Fairness is the order of the day and those advising Keir need to wake up to that.”

Four of Labour’s directly elected mayors – including Sadiq Khan – have told Bloomberg that they oppose Sir Keir’s pledge to keep the cap.

Sir Keir will be interviewed later today by Tony Blair at the Future of Britain Conference.

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