Our MP Stephen Lloyd has never been one for humility, but, like most people, I didn’t mind too much as long as he was as honest as any politician can be and got on with the job.
But last week I think he crossed a line suggesting he was responsible for the Government and the rail unions getting around a table to try to end the Southern dispute.
I’m not really political but I have followed this dispute very closely and Mr Lloyd’s suggestion his intervention had some bearing just doesn’t fit any facts I am aware of, is stretching his credibility, and harming his reputation.
The reason the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and the unions are now talking is because the unions said they would halt strike action. I have read many times in the news this was the precondition Mr Grayling asked for before he would meet the unions and when they did so, he did what he said he would do and arranged to talk with them.
People can agree or disagree with Mr Grayling’s approach on this mater and I, for one, was not wholly impressed with it, but I just don’t see what Mr Lloyd has actually done to help and I just cannot understand why he is making such grand claims he has helped solve some impasse.
Yes, it appears he met with the unions and this is good work, but it also appears it’s just a co-incidence the RMT and Aslef decided to halt the strikes on that day. It’s all very positive news, but again, what has this to do with Mr Lloyd?
He is a backbench MP and he can’t resolve this strike – only the unions, the Government and Southern can. I find it all very disappointing Mr Lloyd has attempted to gain such considerable credit for something he has no power or influence over. It really does look a little too much like self-aggrandisement, I’m afraid.
It would have been better for Mr Lloyd to have simply said ‘I talked with the unions, I made my plea on behalf of the people of Eastbourne, and I hope they took that on board when they made a decision to stop the strikes’.
I understand that’s not very media savvy for someone like Mr Lloyd but that’s the accurate picture of what has happened and he is wrong to try to twist it to his advantage. I now hope Mr Lloyd will take a look a his recent actions and start to be a little humbler from now on.