Cameron too busy entertaining celeb chums to meet TUC leader O’Grady
DAVID CAMERON was accused yesterday of showing “total contempt” for working people after rolling out the red carpet at Downing Street for celebrities — but snubbing TUC leader Frances O’Grady.
The Morning Star can reveal that Ms O’Grady has not been offered a date for a meeting with the Prime Minister more than NINE months since requesting talks on the Trade Union Bill.
Mr Cameron’s refusal to meet the representative of Britain’s six million trade union members comes while his government rushes new restrictions on strikes through Parliament.
The Trade Union Bill will almost certainly become law if it passes its second reading in the House of Lords on Monday evening.
Shadow cabinet minister Ian Lavery told us “Frances O’Grady represents nearly six million people in this country — working people — who are the backbone of our society.
“David Cameron is showing total contempt for working people and the trade union movement. It’s just a total lack of respect.
“It’s hardly the actions of the leader of the so-called ‘workers’ party’.”
And yet the Tory PM has found plenty of time to court celebrity campaigners and powerful media barons at taxpayers’ expense.
The latest government transparency data shows Mr Cameron has hosted high-ranking figures from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp on four occasions since the general election.
Between June and July alone, he twice held a “general discussion” with the editor and political editor of the Sun, as well as hosting separate meetings with News Corp CEO Robert Thomson and the editor and political editor of the Times newspapers.
He entertained celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who has criticised laws that limit the working week to 48 hours, twice to talk about obesity.
Mr Cameron has also met famous film director Richard Curtis in connection with his role as a UN development ambassador and lawyer Amal Clooney, who is married to movie star George Clooney, to discuss human rights in the Maldives.
That is in addition to Mr Cameron’s regular jaunts across Europe for talks as part of his EU renegotiation.
Mr Lavery, a former miner who is also chairman of Labour’s Trade Union Group of MPs, said Mr Cameron should be treated by workers with the “contempt he deserves.”
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“He clearly cares much more about swanning around Europe in his private jet than talking to the leader of the trade union movement in his own country,” said Mr Lavery.
“But we shouldn’t be shocked at David Cameron’s priorties.
“His government is intensifying a brutal, unprecedented attack on the unions — and when you say the unions, that’s the working people of this country.”
Ms O’Grady first wrote to Downing Street to request a meeting on May 15 last year.
Following five months without a reply, she told a parliamentary committee that her members would find Mr Cameron’s silence “discourteous.”
Downing Street finally acknowledged receipt of the letter shortly afterwards but has still not offered the TUC a date for a meeting.
Remaining consistent in its approach yesterday, Downing Street did not reply to the Morning Star’s request for a comment.
Mr Cameron last met TUC representatives in July 2014, but since then the unions have been forced to make do with meetings with junior Cabinet Office ministers Oliver Letwin and Matthew Hancock.
The Star has previously revealed how Tory ministers in the Business Department met the CBI bosses’ lobbying group the day after announcing plans for the Bill — a month before meeting the TUC.