Rail union workers strike “Putin’s friend” this week, Tobias Elwood claims.
The senior Conservative MP said the Russian president would “enjoy” the fact that the chaos caused by this week’s biggest strike action on Britain’s rail network in 30 years is distracting the government from the war in Ukraine.
“We’re facing huge economic headwinds, but here, as the country comes to a standstill, we’re doing so much self-harm,” Mr Elwood told Sky News.
“I think Russia must be enjoying this self-inflicted distraction, and it’s nice to see a government in Europe that actually stands with Putin completely distracted in this way.”
“I do hope the unions now cancel planned future strikes … it’s not only disrupting commuters, including key workers, but also students, and actually the hospitality industry.”
“It’s also Armed Forces weekend this Saturday, and that’s where we give our thanks to those who served and served,” he added.
“I said to the union, ‘Please don’t be Putin’s friend — come back to the talks today so we can get the country working again.'”
40,000 members of the RMT union went on strike on Tuesday and further strikes are planned for Thursday and Sunday as workers have become embroiled in heated debate over pay cuts and layoffs.
The government has refused to approve a big pay rise and Boris Johnson has warned the country they must prepare for further chaos and need to “stay the course” if the strike is to be stopped.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, told the BBC: “Today is still going to be a very chaotic day.”
“Don’t think it’s a normal day. If you’re traveling by train, check before you leave home, check on your way to the station, and for God’s sake, take a bottle of water with you.”