Many of you have written to me concerned about planned strike action by RMT members working for South Western Railway through most of December.
I believe disruption to the essential services which people rely on for their daily lives causes unnecessary difficulty, especially during Christmas and New Year when many people are visiting their families and friends.
I would urge SWR and the union to continue discussions and negotiations throughout December and do everything they can to avoid a strike. I shall be making this point to both parties.
The real focus from everyone in the rail industry should be on improving performance, something which I recently raised in the House of Commons. Local residents deserve a reliable railway service.