'People didn't want to send their kids to work in Costa': MP Byrne condemned over 'disparaging' remark

By Peter Madeley | Dudley | Politics | Published:

Labour's candidate for West Midlands Mayor has been accused of showing contempt for the working classes over claims he made a disparaging remark against retail workers.

Marco Longhi (left) says he has been angered by comments from Labour MP Liam Byrne (right)

In a profile piece in a national newspaper, Liam Byrne said the last Labour government did not do enough to help people in places like Dudley.

The Birmingham MP said old industry has been replaced by retail parks, adding "people didn't want to send their kids down the pit, but they didn't want to send them to work in Costa Coffee either".

The comment has been seized upon by Tories in the Black Country as evidence that Labour has become "detached from real people".

Dudley North MP Marco Longhi, said: "This clearly demonstrates the contempt the Labour Party has for hard working people such as those that work on the frontline in retail.

"During these challenging times I believe parents are very proud of their children, who are working in retail in places like Costa.

"This is not something to be ashamed of. Both my daughters work on the frontline in the retail environment and I’m extremely proud of them.

“If these are the type of views Kier Stammer is happy to support perhaps it is not only Liam Byrne that should consider his position.

"I know the current West Midlands Mayor Andy Street would never make such disparaging comments to those that work so hard.


"If this is the way Labour plan on building their support then they have a very long way to go – they seem so detached from real people that they won’t learn, whoever leads them."

Mr Byrne said he wanted to point out that "a good job is better than a bad job".

He told the Express & Star: "I started working life in a McDonald's when I was sixteen and I’ve done most jobs under the sun.

"I’ve swept floors, laid railways, picked grapes, unloaded trawlers, worked in shops, sold photocopiers and started my own technology business.

"I learned early on that any job is better than no job. But I also learned that a good job is better than a bad job. And right now, we don’t have enough good jobs.

"That’s why we’re demanding the Government pull its finger out, and back our campaign to Save Our Manufacturing before our crucial manufacturing jobs disappear."

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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