Hard left Labour MPs continued to defy leader Keir Starmer‘s warning to distance themselves from rail strikes today in yet another challenge to his leadership.
Rebecca Long-Bailey, who ran against Sir Keir to lead the part in 2020 was among those who visited picket lines as militant unions brought Britain to a standstill.
The Salford MP and Blackley and Broughton’s Graham Stringer defiantly joined members of the RMT and TSSA in Manchester. More than 45,000 rail staff have walked out in a row over pay across the country.
It came despite a warning from a Labour frontbencher that their visible support would not ‘sort this problem out’ or help the party into power.
Hard left MPs have previous joined picket lines, and Sam Tarry was sacked as a transport minister after he joined one in London last month.
Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson told Times Radio: ‘We want to be the next government, so, if we were the government, we would be around that negotiating table sorting out the dispute, we would be a party to those negotiations.
‘I don’t think being on a picket line is going to sort this problem out.
‘I think it is right that we do speak to workers who are affected by all of these cost-of-living pressures that we face, but my priority is making sure that we get a Labour government that is able to fix some of these big problems that we face as a country.’
The Salford MP and Blackley and Broughton’s Graham Stringer defiantly joined members of the RMT and TSSA in Manchester.
Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson told Times Radio: ‘We want to be the next government, so, if we were the government, we would be around that negotiating table sorting out the dispute, we would be a party to those negotiations. ‘I don’t think being on a picket line is going to sort this problem out.’
Ostracised former party leader Jeremy Corbyn , who now sits as an independent, was also out on a picket line in London with Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana.
Bruised and battered Jeremy Corbyn, 73, reveals he fell while running
Jeremy Corbyn has revealed that he suffered a split lip and black eye by tripping over a tree root while out jogging on Wednesday.
Sporting the injuries at a picket line outside Euston Station, the former Labour leader said: ‘I was out running in Finsbury Park and unfortunately a tree root had protruded over the path.
‘Me and the tree root collided and I collided with the ground afterwards. There was nobody else involved – totally me on my own – but I love running anyway.’
Asked if he would keep up with his running, the Labour leader answered: ‘Of course.’
Asked if Labour frontbenchers are allowed to go and stand on a picket line, Ms Phillipson said she has ‘had no discussion around that’.
Mr Corbyn criticised Sir Keir Starmer’s sacking of Mr Tarry.
Speaking from a picket line outside London’s Euston station, the former Labour leader – sporting a black eye and split lip from a running injury – said Sam Tarry’s treatment was ‘very unfair’.
Mr Corbyn said: ‘Sam is a trade union person like me, he used to work for the TSSA, he went on a picket line to support his union and his members.
‘I think to dismiss him from his shadow position was very unfair.’
He told Mr Tarry after his sacking that he was ‘very sorry because he was doing a very good job, he was trying to develop a… much better national transport strategy’.
Boris Johnson’s Government today accused militant Mick Lynch of ‘holding Britain hostage’ as he plunged the country into fresh travel chaos – as more than 45,000 rail staff go on strike and force millions of commuters to WFH in another feared hammerblow to the UK’s teetering economy.
Train companies have slashed their services by a fifth today as thousands of members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) and Unite hit picket lines up and down the country in a grinding dispute over pay and working conditions.
The latest wave of industrial action – which will see services finish at 6.30pm today and Saturday – is set to cause four days of travel hell for students getting their A-level results today, as well as workers, holidaymakers and sports and music spectators.
Mr Lynch – who has compared himself to Margaret Thatcher’s Communist arch-rival Arthur Scargill, declared class war at a protest in Westminster and called for a general strike if Liz Truss is elected Prime Minister next month – today vowed to unleash successive waves of mass industrial action until the unions reach a negotiated settlement with Network Rail.
Network Rail issued this map showing the expected services on routes across Britain tomorrow and on Saturday
EUSTON: RMT chief Mick Lynch stands on a picket line outside Euston station raising a fist with rail workers today
Standing on a picket line outside London’s Euston station this morning, and pictured raising a fist in solidarity with striking rail workers, the hardliner swatted away fears that millions of low-wage workers who have to WFH ‘cannot afford for rail workers to go on strike’.
Education Secretary James Cleverly accused Mr Lynch and his union comrades of ‘holding the country hostage’, telling Sky News this morning: ‘They’ve got a very very good salary package, they have incredibly good, ridiculously good terms and conditions, and what they’re doing through these strikes, is they are disadvantaging people trying to get to work, trying to put food over the table, trying to keep a roof over their heads.
‘I think Grant Shapps has made it absolutely clear that these strikes are unfair and completely inappropriate, and it’s wrong that people are held hostage by the unions in this way.’
The mass walkouts are likely to force millions of people who battled to get into offices during the last nation-wide strikes to WFH instead. But economists fear that if the unions decide to spark another wave of strikes this winter, just when energy prices are set to surge above £4,000 per year, then millions of households could find themselves in ‘fuel poverty’ – as the country faces the biggest squeeze to living standards in 60 years.
It comes amid a mounting cost of living crisis fuelled by Putin’s savage invasion of Ukraine, as inflation spirals out of control – hitting 10% yesterday and expected to rocket past 13% by this October – and the Bank of England fears a crippling year-long recession from this winter.