Starmer dodges questions about crossing parliamentary picket line

Sir Keir Starmer declined to say whether he would cross any picket line at Parliament, when around 100,000 civil servants go on strike next month.

The Labour leader, taking questions from the media during a visit to Belfast to meet with political parties in Northern Ireland, was pressed on whether he would cross a picket line if some staff on the parliamentary estate joined the walk-out.

He has warned off frontbenchers from joining picket lines, with Sam Tarry sacked as shadow transport minister in July for giving unauthorised media interviews from an RMT demonstration.

The one-day strike by the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) is set to go ahead on February 1.

Sir Keir did not give a direct answer to the question, telling reporters: “I have made it very clear, I don’t want to see this industrial action.

“I want to lead a government that resolves these issues. Under the last Labour government, you didn’t have a national strike for nurses. You had fair pay for nurses and we think we should be in the room negotiating, sorting out these problems.”