LLOYD RUSSELL-MOYLE has said it is an MP’s duty to join picket lines, despite his party’s leader ordering frontbenchers to avoid them.

The MP for Brighton Kemptown joined RMT union members at London’s Euston station this morning for the largest rail strikes since 1989.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had ordered his front bench MPs not to attend pickets during this week’s strikes. 

It is unclear whether front bench jobs are at risk over joining a picket.

The Argus: Lloyd Russell-Moyle was on a picket in London this morningLloyd Russell-Moyle was on a picket in London this morning

Despite the warning to the Shadow Cabinet, Sir Keir’s office said that the party does not want to see the strikes go ahead, and that the government has “failed to engage” in talks with the RMT.

“It is a duty for MPs to care about this, to speak up, and to go and join a picket line to listen to those staff,” said Mr Russell-Moyle.

“It is wrong to ban MPs in doing that. But I think it’s quite right to ask your Shadow Cabinet members to follow a certain line that’s pre-agreed, and I agree broadly with that line, I think everyone in Labour agrees with that line.

 

“We are supportive of Keir on the line, which is that the Tories have caused this strike because they have refused to negotiate in good faith, and come to a conclusion for the future, and the safety, of our railways. We’re all united on that.

“Who attends what meetings, or what pickets, I don’t really care about that – I’m know that I am allowed to go on the picket line, and I continually will do, because I will always engage and to listen to what workers have to say.”

Backbenchers, including Mr Russell-Moyle, were not issued with orders to avoid picket lines.

The Argus: A official picket in Brighton todayA official picket in Brighton today

Several front benchers have broken Sir Keir’s orders, including Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who was seen on a picket.

He tweeted today: “Solidarity with those on the picket lines. This is a crisis entirely of the Government’s making. The workers don’t want strikes. The unions don’t want strikes. The public don’t want strikes."