Prime Minister brands Southern rail strikes "appalling" and says Corbyn could tell Aslef to call them off

Rebecca Smith
The Prime Minister suggested Jeremy Corbyn get on the phone to the union
The Prime Minister suggested Jeremy Corbyn get on the phone to the union (Source: Getty)

The Prime Minister has branded the Southern rail train strike "appalling", while suggesting Jeremy Corbyn could have a role to play in resolving the dispute.

Southern passengers are facing a second day of strike chaos as talks are underway between the rail firm and drivers' union Aslef at the conciliation service Acas, to try and bring an end to the disruption.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union though, has said its leader Mick Cash has been banned from taking part in the talks, despite it being involved in the dispute over who should operate train doors.

Speaking on Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs), Theresa May said: "I hope that the talks at Acas are going to lead to an end to this strike, but actually I've got a suggestion for the Leader of the Opposition. I think the Leader of the Opposition could do something to help members of the public. The Labour party is funded by Aslef, why doesn't he get on the phone and tell them to call off the strike immediately?"

Read more: RMT says its boss has been banned from Southern rail mediation talks

"We've seen driver only operated trains on rail networks in the UK for decades," May added, blaming the union for causing the disruption. "There is only one body responsible for the current strike and that is Aslef."

May answered Green MP Caroline Lucas who had said she didn't think May had any idea of "the level of suffering" Southern passengers were weathering.

The Prime Minister said transport secretary Chris Grayling "has been taking steps in relation to the general performance of Southern rail", including the government stepping in to invest £20m on tackling the issue and offering to refund a month's travel for season ticket holders.

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