Boris Johnson ‘hasn’t lifted a finger’ to solve rail strikes, dice Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson of being more interested in “blaming everyone else” rather than expending any effort to resolve rail strikes, as the Labour leader repeatedly lambasted the prime minister for not doing his job.

Directly taking on government attempts to portray Labor as complicit in the rail stoppages because of the party’s union links, Starmer used prime minister’s questions to portray Johnson as self-interested and passive.

While Johnson repeatedly sought to condemn Starmer for not having “the gumption” to prevent Labour MPs supporting the RMT union and joining picket lines at the first of three scheduled rail strikes el martes, Starmer said this was a clear attempt to deflect any responsibility.

“If he’s genuine about preventing strikes, could the prime minister tell this house how many meetings he or his transport secretary have had with rail workers this week to actually stop the strikes?” Starmer asked.

After Johnson evaded the question, Starmer went on: “There you have it – the prime minister of this country and his transport secretary haven’t attended a single meeting, held a conversation or lifted a finger to stop these strikes.”

The Labour leader contrasted this with Johnson’s attendance at a Conservative fundraising ball on Monday night, at which dinner with the prime minister was auctioned for £120,000.

“If there’s money coming his way he’s there. If it benefits the country, he’s nowhere to be seen. So rather than blame everyone else, why doesn’t he do his job, get round the table and get the trains running?” Starmer asked.

Johnson dijo: “As he knows, it is up to the railway companies to negotiate. That is their job.” He then reiterated his criticism of Labour MPs backing strikers.

Starmer replied: “He can’t help himself. There’s a huge problem facing the country and all he is interested in doing is blaming everyone else. Can’t he hear the country screaming at him: get on with your job?"

The Labour leader contrasted government calls for restraint from workers in seeking pay rises with reports Johnson personally lobbied for a change to rules that would allow UK-based bankers to have larger bonuses.

“Why is his government more focused on increasing bankers’ pay than the pay of those that are running the country?” Starmer asked.

In a sign of Labour confidence it will win a byelection in Wakefield on Thursday, one of two seats the Tories could lose on the same night, Starmer mocked the fact that the Conservative candidate in the West Yorkshire seat had, like Johnson, faced a no-confidence vote from colleagues, in this case as a council leader.

“Does the prime minister hold any personal interest in seeing if the public will vote for a Tory that even his own side don’t think is up to it?” Starmer asked.

Johnson replied: “The leader of the Labour party hasn’t even got the gumption to speak out against the rail strikes.”

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