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Lisa Nandy visits picket line despite ban on Labour frontbenchers attending strikes

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Lisa Nandy, the shadow levelling up secretary, visited striking communications workers on Monday, days after Keir Starmer sacked his shadow transport minister for comments made on a rail picket line.Starmer has previously told shadow frontbenchers they should not join picket lines for strikes, arguing that Labour should be a party of government.

A shadow minister said Nandy’s appearance at the strikes, along with several other frontbenchers across the country, meant the ban was “effectively over in practice”.Nandy is understood to have told the leader’s office in advance that she planned to visit Communication Workers Union (CWU) workers from BT and Openreach striking in her Wigan constituency, describing it as a visit to constituents involved in a local dispute to talk to them and show support.“Loto [Leader of opposition] were aware in advance,” a source close to Nandy said. “She went down to show her support for constituents campaigning for better pay and conditions at a really tough time, as you’d expect.”Referencing a piece Starmer had previously written for the Sunday Mirror on the right to strike, they said: “We support their right to do that, and what they need now is a Labour government so they don’t feel like they’re on their own when times are tough.”Two other frontbenchers also visited CWU pickets, the shadow employment minister, Imran Hussain, in Bradford and the Labour whip Navendu Mishra in Stockport.

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