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Boris Johnson has claimed that all-out strikes on public transport will be made illegal under a new Conservative administration following major disruption on UK train routes.

“I do think it’s absurd that critical transport mass-transit systems should be capable of being put out of actions by strikes, and other countries around the world have minimum service requirements for public transport – and that’s what I want to see,” said Johnson in front of an audience of textile workers near Matlock in Derbyshire.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union (RMT) said its members on South Western Railway (SWR) were “standing firm” on the second of 27 planned strikes over the role of guards on trains. On new trains due to start running next year, SWR wants drivers to operate the doors at every stop to save time.

The move to Derbyshire on Thursday by Johnson’s campaign highlighted the Tories’ hope to break through the so-called “red wall” of traditional Labour seats.

Appearing at the John Smedley factory, Johnson was asked if he would “absolutely promise” to get a trade deal with the EU by the end of the transition period in December 2020. “I’ve absolutely no doubt at all that we’ll be able to make sure that the EU protects its own interests and has a deal with us that ensures that continues for the future.

“If you say ‘can I absolutely guarantee that we’ll get a deal’, I think I can and I’ll tell you why – look at what we achieved … in three months with the new deal that I did,” said the prime minister. Read more

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