“Shame on them,” said Mish Rahman, a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee who spoke at the protest.
“Today, this dictator prime minister has watered down the ministerial code. We’ve gone from proto-fascist and we’re accelerating quickly towards total dictatorship. We cannot accept this any more.”
Earlier today, changes to the ministerial code, which outlines the standards of conduct expected of government ministers, were published.
The code now says that ministers will no longer always have to quit if they break it. Lesser sanctions can be ordered instead.
Speaking to openDemocracy about today’s protest, Luis Eduardo Veintimilla, who works as a cleaner in a government building, and his wife, Stephanie Veintimilla, expressed their “disgust”.
In the height of the pandemic, Veintimilla was not given adequate PPE. He caught COVID-19, and so did his asthmatic wife. On top of this, “it was a hassle for him to get paid”.
“We are people and we have rights. [We] deserve to be respected,” they said.
Zack Polanski, a Green Party London Assembly member, also spoke at the demonstration. “This is so much bigger than party politics. This is essentially about human decency, “ he said.
“It's about people who are vulnerable, who are being low-paid, who don't feel like they have representation or a voice, who are not seen or not heard, being pitted against the powerful, who hold the wealth, who hold the levers of power, and have shown themselves to be corrupt.
“We have an integrity crisis, they cannot be trusted.
“But I want to say this, the workers are not not seen, and they are not not heard. We see you, and we hear you.”
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