Heidi Alexander 'forced McDonnell not to join hospital picket line'

Posted On: 
14th February 2016

Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander reportedly intervened to stop John McDonnell from joining a picket line with striking junior doctors. 

The Mail on Sunday reports that Ms Alexander raised the issue with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at a meeting on Tuesday this week, a day before the latest 24-hour doctors' strike. 

Shadow Chancellor Mr McDonnell had attended a picket line during the first round of industrial action in January and declared his intention to do so again. 

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According to the paper Ms Alexander told colleagues: "I am not going to appear on any picket line tomorrow during the strike and I would expect the rest of the Shadow Cabinet to do the same."

Mr McDonnell apparently retorted that he had already promised to join a picket, to which Ms Alexander argued such a move would make things "very difficult for us". 

She was reportedly backed up by colleagues Lord Falconer and John Healey, who both urged Mr McDonnell to stay away from the strikes.

However a source close to the Shadow Chancellor denied the claims, saying: "John was not going to go to the picket line last week. He had a meeting planned in his constituency office."