RMT accuses Conservatives of hypocrisy for commending transport police and workers while forcing huge job cuts
by Felicity Collier
THE TORIES were slammed yesterday by rail workers for their sickening hypocrisy in praising brave transport police and rail staff after years of cutting thousands of jobs.
RMT is urging Home Secretary Amber Rudd to halt cuts to frontline jobs which help to spot and prevent terror attacks.
After Saturday evening’s attack on London Bridge and Borough Market, which left seven people dead and 48 injured, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We are making sure we identify acts where police and others have really given people help and support and shown bravery in this incident.”
But RMT general secretary Mick Cash accused her and the Tory Party of hypocrisy.
“Rail staff are the eyes and ears of the rail network who are specially trained to help prevent terrorist attacks, yet one day the government is praising rail workers as heroes and next day they are cutting rail workers. It is not only hypocrisy it is also pure folly.
“On top of this the Tory manifesto is proposing to abolish the British Transport Police.
“Not only will this increase the terrorist threat by diluting a specialist police operation on the railway, it will also mean that the force will be subject to a major reorganisation and, no doubt, cuts when it should be focusing on the terrorist threat.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan backed up the RMT’s concerns yesterday.
He said that between 3,400 and 12,800 constables in the Metropolitan Police could be cut under Tory spending plans, making it harder to prevent future terror attacks.
The loss would constitute between 10 and 40 per cent of the force in London.
“Cuts on this scale would make it harder to foil future terrorist attacks on our city — and as the mayor of London I’m simply not willing to stand by and let that happen,” he said.
Yesterday Scotland Yard confirmed the identity of the third attacker as 22-year-old Youssef Zaghba from east London.
An Italian national of Moroccan descent, Mr Zaghba was not a “subject of interest” to British police or the MI5 but in recent years he was known to the Italian authorities.
Pakistan-born Khuram Butt and Rachid Redouane, both from Barking, were the other two attackers.
Mr Butt had been reported to the anti-terror hotline in 2015 and featured last year in a Channel 4 documentary called The Jihadis Next Door.
The father-of-two had worked for six months on the Tube as a trainee customer services assistant in 2016. A former friend of Mr Butt who did not wish to be named condemned the attack.
He said: “Today I found out that someone I would have said was cool, funny, peaceful, respectful and a nice guy turned out to be a terrorist.
“The attacks that took place had no place in this world and again thoughts, prayers and condolences to all victims and their families.”
In response to news that Mr Butt had been employed by London Underground, transport union TSSA called for Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to be held to account for serious lapses in security procedures while he was mayor of London.
“Boris Johnson’s cuts agenda compromised security and vetting procedures and let a self-proclaimed jihadi gain employment on the Tube,” said TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes.
“This London Bridge killer will have applied for his position at the same time Boris was bludgeoning through nearly 1,000 job cuts on the Tube [and the loss of] all 242 staff in the specialist CCTV monitoring unit.
“Like Theresa May, Boris neither valued the opinion of British Transport Police, London’s Met Police nor Tube union warnings that his actions would imperil security.”