Labour MP Laura Smith calls for general strike

official portrait of Laura smith

Laura Smith, the Labour MP for Crewe and Nantwich, has called for a general strike to help bring down the Conservative government – if there isn’t a general election. 

She spoke at Momentum organised The World Transformed festival, which is running alongside the Labour Party conference in Liverpool.

A general strike is when workers from across industries take action collectively in large numbers.

The last one in the UK happened in 1926, in support of coal miners who had been locked out of their mines after a dispute with the owners.

The room stood up and erupted in applause – including her fellow speakers on stage, who included shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon, shadow work and pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood and the MPs Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Dan Carden, Chris Williamson, Cat Smith and Emma Dent Coad – all of whom apart from Burgon, Greenwood and Carden had already made their speeches.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey had also previously addressed the rally but had left the stage by this point.

Smith has a majority of 48 in the seat she won off former Conservative minister Edward Timpson last year – a tiny margin that she referred to in her speech.

Her idea for a general strike if Labour is unable to secure a general election will come as a surprise to both the party leadership and its members, who came to a very carefully worded agreement earlier in the conference to keep the prospect of backing a second referendum on the table in the absence of a general election.