Labour: Caller says someone must 'unite the party'
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The Brent North MP was seen mixing with Tories at a reception organised by the 1922 committee. The powerful backbench group put on a party to mark the end of the first day for those attending the Manchester conference.
Mr Gardiner, who was a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, was seen speaking to a number of Tory MPs, including the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg.
It is thought he is the first Labour MP in the history of the 1922 committee to attend the drinks reception at the party conference.
His appearance comes just 24 hours after it was reported three Labour MPs are considering joining the Tories due to their dissatisfaction with Sir Keir Starmer.
The trio are said to have decried to “open lines of communication” with the governing party after failing to be impressed with their leader’s speech to the party in Brighton.
According to the Mail on Sunday, the three MPs held conversations with Conservative whips about orchestrating a switch of allegiance.
However, while Mr Gardiner’s appearance led to a number of raised eyebrows, he has no intention to cross the floor of the Commons to join the Conservatives.
“He was trying to lobby Tories to back his private member’s bill”, one MP in attendance told Express.co.uk.
Mr Gardiner is hoping to get MPs to back his plan to outlaw fire and rehire.
The veteran MP is pushing to get cross-party support to pass legislation that would make it illegal for companies to sack their workers and then rehire them on worse terms than before.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is already a keen supporter, having vowed a Government led by him would ban the practice.
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Mr Gardiner was handing out blue badges reading “stop fire and rehire” to MPs at the party.
His push to get Conservatives on his side comes after he addressed a socialist rally on the topic at Labour conference.
Writing for a grassroots Labour website earlier this year, Mr Gardiner urged MPs to back his Bill.
He wrote: “There are thousands of workers across Britain who have been threatened with being fired and then rehired to do the same basic job for worse pay and conditions.
“These are not some small companies that nobody has ever heard of.
“They are some of the biggest names in British industry. And it’s wrong.
“Nor are they struggling firms that will go out of business if they don’t cut their wages budget.
“In fact many of them have made record profits in the past year as online shopping and coffee consumption have gone through the roof.
“They are companies trying to return more to their shareholders in additional profit; a profit that is being taken straight out of their workers’ wage packets.”
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