A LABOUR MP has said the party supports troops being called in by the UK Government to stand-in for striking workers as a Tory minister claimed it was “unfair” on the armed services.

Stephen Kinnock, Aberavon MP and shadow minister for immigration, claimed that England had been “left with no choice” but to draft in army personnel to cover for striking ambulance drivers, border staff and civil servants.

Unions have branded the deployment of 1200 troops as a “desperate measure”, warning that those in the armed services are not “sufficiently trained” to plug front-line staffing gaps. The chief of defence staff has also said the army should not be treated as “spare capacity”.

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Meanwhile, Oliver Dowden, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, claimed it was “not fair” for troops to have to work over the Christmas period and asked Unions to call off strikes to “give them a break”.

Speaking to Sky News, Kinnock was asked if he supported the army being brought in to cover emergency services. He said: “Well, we’ve been left with no choice, so we do support that.”

He added that the row is a “cover up for a much bigger and deeper problem”.

Kinnock added: “Britain is broken. We’ve got backlogs in passport services, seven million waiting lists on the NHS, our court system is completely failing. There are huge issues around transport and people not being able to get the trains they want to get, regardless of what's happening with the strike, because of the failed system that we have.”

The MP then claimed that the only solution is a General Election and a Labour government coming to power.

Kinnock also told Times Radio: “Sometimes you have to withdraw your labour, that is when you’ve got to a point where you’ve got a Government that is just deliberately sowing the seeds of division, making no attempt to engage because they have a political agenda, which is to turn all of this into a culture war.

“They want to smash working people, that is their agenda. It has been their agenda for a very, very long time.”

Dowden claimed that if everyone in the public sector were to receive a pay rise in line with CPI inflation next year, based on current levels, that would cost £28 billion, or families £1000 each. On the BBC’S Sunday With Laura Keunssberg, Dowden alleged the Royal College of Nurses demand for a pay rise of 5% above inflation was “not affordable”.

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He said: “I would say to people across the private and the public sector… we’re trying to be reasonable, we’re trying to be proportionate and we’re trying to be fair.

“But in return, the unions need to be fair and reasonable. They should call off these strikes and give people a break.”

In Scotland, nurses' strikes were called off on December 12 after two unions accepted an increased pay offer from the Scottish Government.

In England, arrangements have been made for 1200 troops from the Army, Navy and RAF to help mitigate disruption from widespread walkouts over the festive period, with more than 1000 civil servants also drafted in to lend a hand.

The National: Dowden claimed raising public sector pay would cost each household £1000Dowden claimed raising public sector pay would cost each household £1000

Ambulance crews in England are due to walk out for two days on December 21 and 28 in a row over pay, while border staff in the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) will strike for eight days from December 23 until New Year’s Eve.

Unite’s national lead officer Onay Kasab said using the military to backfill vacant roles amounted to a “desperate measure”.

“This is a hard-pressed organisation of low-paid working-class people who don’t need this on top of everything else they are currently having to deal with,” he said.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said it appears “the door is shut” by the Government on pay negotiations, as he warned strikes will inflict “harms” on the health service.