Sunday shows: Reynolds urges ministers to “get a grip on this travel chaos”

Sophy Ridge on Sunday

Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds urged the government to “get a grip on this travel chaos”, rejected the idea that parliamentary bars should close to reduce incidents of sexual assault and described former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s analysis of what the country needs as “absolutely essential”.

  • On the resistance from the government to withdraw the whip from Chris Pincher: “We’ve got to acknowledge what the consistent problem is, and it is a Conservative Party that repeatedly chooses to do what is politically expedient over what is right.”
  • On misconduct-related resignations relating to Labour MPs: “Yes, we have problems. I’m often a person who has to respond and deal with those. But I can tell you that we don’t have what I observe in the Conservative Party, which is the repeated decision to make the wrong decision.”
  • Asked whether the bars in parliament should be shut: “If you look at these particular incidents, actually few of them are in parliament itself – so for me it comes down to something bigger than the hospitality arrangements.”
  • Pressed on whether they should be closed: “No, I don’t think that is the issue.”
  • On the “drinking culture” in parliament being encouraged by having bars: “I wouldn’t say it’s encouraged. Most people are doing an extremely professional job… What I’m trying to say to you is this is not the core of the issue.”
  • Asked whether MPs should no longer directly employ their staff, as suggested by the Speaker: “I’d have no complaints personally about that – as long as MPs are allowed to interview and select the right staff members for them.”
  • Asked what should change to stop behaviour like that from Pincher: “For me, it comes down to are MPs going to be held accountable for their actions, are they gonna have the right standards of leadership set from the top… There would be change if people took this seriously and made decisions accordingly.”
  • He added: “If you have a situation where someone has resigned for a certain set of behaviours and you then appoint them not just to the whips’ office but to be in charge of the welfare of other MPs – well, of course that’s the wrong decision and that’s what needs to change.”
  • On government plans to fast-track security checks for airport baggage handlers: “I want to see the Department for Transport get a grip on this travel chaos. I saw that story last night, I think to be frank they’ve probably just come up with that to get through the media round today.”
  • On Tony Blair’s comments that there is a “gaping great hole” where ideas should be: “No, I don’t think there’s been a gaping great hole but I think Tony Blair’s analysis of what this country needs… is absolutely essential.”

Sunday Morning

Asked whether he would join a picket line, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said you have to “judge these situations… as to what extent there is a principle at stake” and where there is a principle at stake, he has “no problem in showing that support”, though he stressed that he was not saying Keir Starmer’s position on the recent strikes was wrong.

  • On what would be a fair pay rise for workers: “This is a very serious situation, and in a cost-of-living crisis, you’ve got to protect everybody through the effects of inflation. So the government would say they’ve done that for pensioners. But I would say this right back to them today, stop demonising workers who are fighting to protect their incomes and to protect themselves and their families from a cost-of-living crisis. Get around the table with them and come up with a fair solution. Everybody’s got to be protected from this.”
  • Pressed on whether workers should be asking for a pay rise: “It’s absolutely right that workers should be protecting their incomes in a cost-of-living crisis. And that has got to be worked out with the government. Instead they are relishing the prospect of strikes. They are trying to play the politics around this when instead they should be getting around the table, profession by profession, and sorting out a fair arrangement to take people through this year and obviously recognise the pay pressures they’re facing going forward.”
  • Asked whether he supports workers striking: “Nobody in my position should ever in my view criticise people for trying to protect their incomes in a cost-of-living crisis. That is absolutely what they should be able to do. And, of course, they would say, the unions say themselves, nobody wants to see strikes. But when you’re faced with a government that is sitting on its hands and doing nothing, then strikes become inevitable.”
  • Pressed on whether he supports workers striking: “I support the rail workers. I support the BA staff, in that they have got to do what they need to do to protect their incomes.”
  • On Keir Starmer’s stance on the strikes: “It’s obvious that the government are playing this for all it’s worth in terms of the politics.”
  • Pressed on why the Labour leader has taken his stance: “That is because they’re facing a government that is playing politics. They really shouldn’t be doing that at all. All’s I can do is speak for myself… We had obviously the same issues here, our tram drivers were asking for an increase. What did we do, we sat around the table with them and we sorted it out in a proper way. Why don’t we have a government that does that, but instead wants to just constantly put a trap down for the opposition?”
  • On why Labour is not straightforwardly supporting the strikes: “Those decisions are for the leader and the shadow cabinet, not for me to say how they should go about things. I think they have offered support. Certainly the deputy leader offered support. What I think they should do is support the principle. Working people have got to have the right to protect themselves in a situation like the one we’re in now. But beyond that the details are to be worked out, and that’s why they are then right to say everyone should get into negotiation.”
  • On whether he would go on a picket line: “I have done… You’ve got to judge these situations haven’t you as to what extent there is a principle at stake and where there’s a principle at stake I would say to you that I have no problem in showing that support.”
  • On whether he thinks Starmer’s stance is wrong: “I’m not saying that at all actually. The leader of the Labour Party is in a different position from me. I’m not saying I’m in the same position. There is a balance to be struck always isn’t there between obviously supporting workers but also helping the public go about their business… The focus has to be on the government. The Labour Party has shown support for workers in the current situation. People will have different views about picket lines and all of those issues, but I think they have done a good job in standing up for workers.”
  • On whether he wants to replace Starmer as leader: “Firstly, I can’t because the rules don’t allow it. I’m not a member of the parliamentary Labour Party. Secondly, there isn’t a vacancy, and I don’t expect there to be one.”
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