Keir Starmer’s MPs defy his ban again and join picket lines as Labour in disarray over rail strikes


Keir Starmer’s MPs defy his ban again and join picket lines as Labour disarray over rail strikes continues

  • More Labour MPs appeared with RMT militants on the picket line on Saturday
  • Starmer said Labour had issued a ‘very clear message’ to stay out of the dispute 
  • Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy suggested yesterday sacking frontbenchers who manned picket lines

Labour was in disarray over rail strikes yesterday as frontbenchers continued to flout Keir Starmer’s ban on joining picket lines.

Several of Sir Keir’s MPs appeared with RMT militants on the picket line on Saturday. He has avoided taking sides in the bitter dispute but banned his top team from taking part in the demonstrations.

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy suggested yesterday sacking frontbenchers who manned picket lines while their constituents struggled to get to work.

He said Labour had issued a ‘very clear message’ to senior MPs to stay out of the dispute, adding: ‘This is not a moment for posturing, standing on picket lines.’

Rebels: Labour MPs Dan Carden, Kim Johnson, Paula Barker and Ian Byrne join a Liverpool picket on Saturday

Rebels: Labour MPs Dan Carden, Kim Johnson, Paula Barker and Ian Byrne join a Liverpool picket on Saturday

However, Labour sources suggested Sir Keir would bow to pressure from the Left and the unions to show leniency.

A string of frontbenchers were among 25 Labour MPs who joined picket lines for the first day of the strike on Tuesday.

Labour sources said chief whip Sir Alan Campbell had ordered those involved to apologise publicly. Among the MPs joining pickets again on Saturday were whip Navendu Mishra and parliamentary aides Kate Osborne and Paula Barker.

Frontbencher Mr Mishra said he was ‘standing in solidarity with striking workers today – and every day’.

Sir Alan is expected to speak to rebel frontbenchers today. But sources played down the idea they would lose their jobs.

Mr Lammy said he opposed the industrial action, adding: ‘All of us are feeling the pinch with inflation.

‘It would not be responsible opposition if I suggested yes to every strike.’

Meanwhile commuters are awaiting the RMT’s next move after a third day of rail strikes on Saturday. It is due to resume talks with Network Rail today.

Sir Keir Starmer said Labour had issued a ‘very clear message’ to stay out of the dispute after more Labour MPs appeared with RMT militants on the picket line on Saturday

Sir Keir Starmer said Labour had issued a ‘very clear message’ to stay out of the dispute after more Labour MPs appeared with RMT militants on the picket line on Saturday

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