A North East MP has joined railway workers on the picket lines despite a warning from Labour bosses not to.

Kate Osborne, MP for Jarrow and Shadow Northern Ireland Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS), has joined a picket line in Bromley, London and said she would join striking workers ‘come what may’ following a warning to frontbenchers from the Labour leadership.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has reportedly ordered frontbenchers not to join picket lines as the country faces the biggest rail strike in over 30 years.

It comes as Conservatives have used the strikes to claim Labour is on the side of the striking workers who have caused chaos for millions of commuters.

Read more: Rail strikes: North East MPs react ahead of week-long strike

Osborne’s role as Shadow Northern Ireland PPS may put her in the shadow cabinet group ordered not to support strikers on picket lines.

It is unclear whether she will be asked to resign following her decision.

Asked if she would face disciplinary action, Shadow Treasury chief secretary Pat McFadden told Sky News: "That's a matter for the whips and for Keir Starmer."

The Northern Echo: Darlington station was quiet on Tuesday (June 21) morning.Darlington station was quiet on Tuesday (June 21) morning.

Kate Osborne told The Northern Echo: “As a lifelong Trade Unionist and supporter of workers fighting for better pay, terms and conditions, I cannot - under any circumstances - fail to support RMT members who plan take industrial action this week and come what may I will attend RMT picket lines this week.

“The Labour Party was formed out of the trade union movement to give working people their own political voice.  Our party’s strength is in our support for workers - these key workers deserve our full support and they are not the only ones, teachers, NHS staff, Local Government workers and many more are all struggling to cope with the cost of living crisis.

“This Government has failed to deal with the cost of living crisis, and of course they are playing politics with this RMT dispute, threatening to legislate against the right to strike.

“As the Labour Party we must speak up for workers’ right to take action to protect their pay and conditions.

Read more: Rail strikes: LNER confirms timetable

“We should be tackling the false narrative that pits railway workers against the traveling public, that states workers are overpaid.

“Workers have had real terms pay cuts for decades and are now facing a cost of living crisis, food poverty and energy bill rises - all political choices of this Government.

“Staff taking strike action are of course standing up for their rights - but they are also standing up for commuters - demanding a safe, well-staffed railway where people are put before profit.

“Solidarity to workers on strike today, they have my full support.”

On Monday (June 20) another North East Labour frontbencher Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, said Labour does not support the strike.

She said: "Labour don't want to see this strike go ahead, but rather than do their job and fix the mess they have created, desperate Tory ministers are spoiling for a fight to distract from their chaotic, discredited and aimless Government.”

Widespread travel disruption is expected throughout the week as over 50,000 rail workers walk out in a feud over pay and conditions.


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