Secretary of State for Transport refuses to deny that Number 10 intervened to scupper deal ahead of Christmas
Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper repeatedly refused to deny that Number 10 had intervened to scupper a deal in the rail dispute by inserting a precondition that the union accept Driver Only operation.
The Secretary of State was put on the spot by Labour MPs Grahame Morris and Ben Bradshaw who asked him to confirm or deny the reports in Monday’s Telegraph in which industry sources were quoted saying that the requirement to agree to the controversial Driver Only Operation was inserted at the last minute by Number 10 in the full knowledge that it would make a deal impossible.
Mr Harper refused to answer, the question leaving a frustrated Ben Bradshaw to say the public had a right to know that “Number 10 have now guaranteed Christmas Chaos”.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said:
"We have a chaotic government working behind the scenes to scupper a negotiated settlement in pursuit of a political agenda that the travelling public do not want.
"They’re seeking to impose Driver Only Operation (DOO) that will make our railways less safe, secure and accessible and they seem prepared to sacrifice Christmas business to force it through.
"Profit hungry train companies are also being indemnified against any financial losses from strike action, with the taxpayer picking up the tab.
"Crucially, the Welsh and Scottish Governments have made settlements with RMT, that are not conditional on extending Driver Only Operation (DOO) or closing more ticket offices.
"It is clear that the contrasting approach taken by the Westminster Government is an ideologically driven one, intent on pursuing policies that protect the profits of private train companies."