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London Underground strike causing travel chaos across capital | UK News

A Tube strike is causing chaos across London with extremely limited services on the London Underground today.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and Unite are involved in a long-running dispute over jobs and pensions which has led to previous disruption due to industrial action.

Passengers are urged to check before travelling on Thursday with problems expected to continue into Friday morning due to the walkout.

A very reduced service is running on the Central, Northern and District lines with no service on all other lines.

The Elizabeth line is running but may not be calling at some stations it share’s with the tube.

Transport for London (TfL) said London Overground and DLR services may also be subject to last minute changes on Thursday, with London Trams running a reduced timetable and buses expected to be much busier than normal.

Union members will mount picket lines outside Tube stations across the capital, with a group of around a dozen seen holding an RMT banner outside King’s Cross St Pancras as early as 7AM.

More on London Underground

Nearby, commuters were seen being turned away from packed buses.

The RMT claims it offered to suspend the strike during talks but accused TfL of rejecting its proposals.

A woman walks past the closed shutters at the entrance to King's Cross station in central London, during a strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and Unite, in a long-running dispute over jobs and pensions. The strike by transport workers in London is expected to cause travel chaos with limited services on the Tube. Picture date: Thursday November 10, 2022.

Glynn Barton, TfL’s chief operating officer, said no proposals to change pensions or conditions had been made.

TfL’s recent funding agreement with the government required it to develop options around pensions, but the organisation said if changes are to be made, there would be consultations before any decisions are made.

The RMT alleges it asked TfL to pause any job cuts and pension changes to give both sides time to negotiate a deal.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “TfL have missed a golden opportunity to make progress in these negotiations and avoid strike action.

“Our members are resolute in their determination to see a just settlement to this dispute, and they will continue their industrial campaign for as long as it takes.”

More than 1,000 Unite members will be on strike.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “TfL is needlessly attacking our members’ pay and pensions, which Unite simply can’t accept. The workers have the full support of their union in fighting these attacks. TfL must stop behaving like a race-to-the-bottom employer and put forward an offer that is acceptable to our members.”

As Tory conference looms, the PM cuts a diminished figure after squandering much of her political capital | Politics News

Three-and-a-half weeks ago, Liz Truss was beaming as she was announced as the new leader of the Conservative Party.

She did not embrace her husband or console her defeated opponent – reaching instead for her victory speech and marching onto the stage.

The contrast as she heads to her party’s annual conference in Birmingham is stark. The prime minister already cuts a diminished figure after squandering much of her political capital – damaging her party’s reputation for economic management and demoralising many of her MPs, some of whom feel they are now facing an existential crisis.

Adam Boulton analysis: Autumn storm clouds are thickening thanks to mini-budget

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Truss acknowledges ‘some disruption’

“It was a foolish error,” says Martin Vickers, a normally loyal Conservative MP, of the government’s controversial mini-budget. “All we’ve done is supply ammunition to our political opponents.”

He added: “I’m not arguing about the direction of travel. But it was too much too soon. It has clearly spooked the markets and is causing unnecessary distress and concern to my constituents.”

“This can’t go on,” complains another frustrated MP.

“Meaning the policy or the people?” I ask.

“Both” is the reply.

The PM seems to be gradually willing to publicly accept a link between her policies and market turmoil – describing this overnight as “short-term disruption” – but there is no sign she is considering reversing any of the measures.

The government is instead expected to move ahead with significant spending cuts. Reports suggest that welfare benefits could also be affected and may only be increased in line with average earnings, not inflation.

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How might the government balance the books?

Mr Vickers is among a growing number of backbenchers happy to publicly express their exasperation and call for a change in government policy.

He will be attending the conference, but many colleagues critical of the leadership will be swerving it.

Former leadership contenders Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid are not expected to attend. The number of party members present may be diminished by rail strikes (ironic since the conference slogan is Getting Britain Moving) – and the cost of hotels in the city.

Alongside entertaining wealthy donors, meeting newspaper editors, and addressing members’ drinks receptions, Liz Truss is expected to carry out a series of national TV and radio interviews. Her bruising round of local radio interviews on Thursday morning suggests these encounters may be less than smooth.

The best opportunity to take control of the narrative, communicate directly with voters and reset her premiership remains the leader’s speech.

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Iconic party conference moments

In 2007, David Cameron delivered his 50-minute address without notes.

In 2017, Theresa May’s was almost brought to a standstill by a hacking cough, a P45 prank and a collapsing backdrop.

In 2021, a venue was constructed purely for Boris Johnson’s “Build Back Better” speech.

Mr Cameron wrote that his team would spend months “constructing the paragraphs, crafting the killer lines, choosing the ‘moments’ that would make people gasp or laugh or connect emotionally”.

Ms Truss’s team have not had the luxury of time for that level of preparation, yet the ideology driving her administration is at least settled.

Surviving a conference with her budget intact may be painful for the PM, but it seems perfectly possible.

A far more turbulent time is expected when parliament returns on 11 October, and the scale of backbench Tory opposition becomes clear.

The Great Debate promo Monday October 3
The Great Debate promo Monday October 3
London and Surrey fires: Firefighters battle large blazes around the capital with one declared a ‘major incident’ | UK News

The fire service in Surrey has declared a major incident as crews battle an open fire – as crews in the capital fight three other large blazes, with people in west London told to keep their doors and windows shut.

In Surrey, a fire at Hankley Common near Farnham has drawn “several fire engines” to the area.

The fire service tweeted: “There is a great deal of smoke so please avoid the area, windows and doors should be closed if nearby and pets kept indoors.”

Read more: Dramatic satellite pictures show the impact of the heatwave as high temperatures hit country

Pictures online show plumes of smoke rising over the county, with people as far away as Guildford reporting they can see it.

The fire service later tweeted to ask those nearby to stop calling 999 to report smoke clouds, after receiving “an incredibly high” number of calls.

It added some local roads have been closed as a result of the incident.

Fire crews in London are also battling wildfires – with blazes in Rammey Marsh in Enfield, and Cranford Park in Hayes.

In Enfield, close to Epping Forest, London Fire Brigade (LFB) said around 100 firefighters were battling the grass fire, which had grown to the size of four football pitches.

The service urged people to help prevent further fires by not having barbeques and disposing of cigarettes correctly.

A fire in Hayes can be seen from across west London, with the LFB adding 70 firefighters are at the scene. It says people in the area should close doors and windows.

Big Jet TV, which live commentates on planes landing at Heathrow, says that visibility is reducing at the airport, sharing a picture of a smoke covered runway from the nearby fire at Hayes.

In east London near Newham, another fire is being dealt with in Thamesmead. LFB say 65 firefighters and a fire boat are at the scene close to London City Airport, with those nearby asked to keep doors and windows closed.

It comes after a swathe of wildfires in London and the surrounding area after last week’s record temperatures left the ground tinder-box dry.

The UK hit record temperatures on Tuesday, with Coningsby in Lincolnshire reaching a sweltering 40.3C (104.5F) – the first time since records began that the mercury has exceeded 40C in the country.

Some parts of the UK saw significant damage as a result of the extreme heat, such as house and wildfires, melting airport runways and expanding railway tracks.