DAVID Lammy has condemned his Labour colleagues who joined striking rail workers saying that a “serious party of government doesn’t join picket lines”.

Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday Morning show, he said that while the party’s name is Labour, it doesn’t necessarily support the workers union’s decision to strike.

His comments follow three days of industrial action last week by members of the RMT union over jobs, pay, pensions and conditions.

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He said: "Let’s be clear, the name is Labour, and it’s Labour for a reason. It’s Labour because we historically want to associate ourselves with working people wherever they are across the country.

“Let’s take these rail strikes – working people find it very hard when they can’t get to work to make a living, but equally there are working people who are working on the railways who are seeing their pay diminished and have concerns about redundancies at this time.”

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Labour leader Keir Starmer had previously issued strict orders that his frontbenchers were not to join striking workers on the picket lines.

In spite of this, at least four of his top team defied him with 50 Labour MPs overall ignoring Starmer's instructions.

When asked what would happen to the rebel MPs, Lammy said he thought they would be disciplined for joining the workers and that the Labour chief whip would get involved.

He said: “I suspect that the chief whip will be speaking to them next week and making it very clear that a serious party of government does not join picket lines.”

He added: “It is likely that there will continue to be disputes for the coming weeks and months – we’re in a cost of living crisis and people will no doubt be concerned with rising inflation and where their salaries are as a result of that,

“A serious party of government, in government, is in the business of negotiation. Sitting down with both those who are striking and management who make these working conditions. I don’t think it’s helpful to stand on picket lines.”

The move to distance Labour from the picket lines has caused controversy on Twitter with one user labelling it “contemptible”.