Former defence minister Tobias Ellwood has warned striking rail union workers not to be “Putin’s friend”.
The former soldier and Tory MP for Bournemouth East said the Kremlin would be “enjoying this self-inflicted distraction” from its war against Ukraine.
This comes after thousands of rail workers walked out across the country on Tuesday, with two further national rail strikes planned on Thursday and Saturday. The capital was also brought to a standstill on Tuesday by industrial action.
Strikes came as inflation hit a 40-year-high of 9.1 per cent, with the rising cost of living dramatically effecting consumers and businesses.
Speaking to Sky News, Ellwood, who is Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, said: “We face huge economic headwinds yet here we are causing such huge self-harm as the country is brought to a halt.”
“I think Russia must be enjoying this self-inflicted distraction, pleased to see that the one government in Europe that is actually standing up to Putin is completely distracted in this way.
Calling on unions to call off the strikes planned for later in the week, he added: “I say to the unions ‘please don’t be Putin’s friend – return to the talks today so we can get the country moving again’.”
Unions including for buses, Uber drivers, barristers, airlines and postal industries have all said they are considering strike action over pay and conditions int he near-future.