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South Western Railway strike: 27-day walk out begins

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Media captionSouthampton rail commuters speak out on first day of strike

Commuters are facing disruption as workers on South Western Railway (SWR) begin a 27-day strike.

It comes after talks between the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and SWR over a long-running dispute over guards on trains broke down.

The operator called the action “unnecessary” and said “more than half” of weekday trains would run, but warned of queues at stations.

The union said the strike is “in defence of passenger safety”.

The RMT said SWR had “point-blank refused” to show any serious movement at talks held at the conciliation service Acas.

The union has been demanding that guards should oversee the operation of doors and perform other safety functions in dispatching trains.

It said the company’s proposals would leave guards as “glorified porters” without any safety responsibilities.

As the strike got under way earlier, disruption was compounded when a man seen carrying an air rifle led to a train being evacuated.

Elsewhere, Sophia Griffiths, who travels from Earlsfield station into central London, said: “Usually when they strike the station is not too bad but today was just nuts.

“I saw the queue outside and thought ‘no way’ – I’ve never seen it that long so I took the bus to Tooting and got the Tube from there.”

She said she was supportive of the striking workers and said it was “crazy they (SWR) would let it get to this”.

The communications officer at Nuffield Council on Bioethics said she was considering cycling to work during the prolonged action and working from home more.

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Becky Bartlett

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The morning rush hour meant a crowded platform at Wokingham station

Charlotte Burnell said it took almost an hour to travel from Claygate, Surrey, to Waterloo – a journey which usually takes 34 minutes.

“You can manage a couple of days of strike action but the thought of it going on for 27 days is pretty overwhelming,” she said.

“It’s physically uncomfortable. I was forced to stand awkwardly and my back was killing me.”

Steve Nagioff described passengers “rammed” into a carriage on his commute from Whitton in south west London.

“A woman next to me said that she couldn’t breathe. The train stopped at Richmond and I fell out – luckily other passengers got off the train so I got back on it again.

“It’s just not right – I pay full ticket prices. If the service is going to be like this then it should be free,” he added.

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Media captionBBC Transport Correspondent Paul Clifton explains the background to the strikes

Becky Bartlett, from Wokingham in Berkshire, said she was an hour late for work in London after her regular train was cancelled.

“I have various theatre and gig plans for the month, plus Christmas parties and events, which I have either had to cancel, some at loss of the ticket price, or I’m going to have to pay for a £30+ taxi from Reading just to get home.

“This whole experience is going to be horrific. I’m one day in and I’ve already had enough.”

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Charlotte Burnell

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Passengers faced packed carriages on the line from Guildford to Waterloo

RMT assistant general secretary Steve Hedley said members were “absolutely furious” with SWR following the Acas talks.

“Of course our members don’t want to lose a month’s money running up to Christmas but they’re prepared to do that to show that safety and accessibility for disabled people is non-negotiable.”

Regional organiser Mick Tosh said the union would consider financial support for any members who suffered particular hardship because of the strike.

Your Questions Answered: Could public transport be made cheaper?

SWR said it had offered “a guard on every train, and a safety critical role for that guard”.

Managing director Andy Mellors said the action was “unnecessary” and the issue needed to be settled before a new fleet of modern suburban trains was introduced next year.

“Our assessment is that by having drivers opening and closing doors, that will actually optimise the performance of the network by getting more trains to Waterloo on time.

“We’ve been very clear that we’re committed to keeping a guard on our trains and those guards will have safety critical competencies. Our proposals will make guards more customer facing and improve safety, security and accessibility.”


By Paul Clifton, BBC South transport correspondent

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Steve Parsons/PA

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Commuters at Bracknell station are among those affected by the strike

At Chandler’s Ford station this morning, the ticket office door was locked. The platform was empty and all the signs were blank.

It’s going to stay that way for a month. The next train isn’t due until 2 January 2020.

It’s the same story at Swaythling, Millbrook, Dean, Dunbridge and a few other small stations popular with children heading to school as well as daily commuters.

The two sides are trading insults and blaming each other. They haven’t budged in more than two years of strikes.

I don’t think many passengers have any goodwill left at all for either the RMT or South Western Railway – because this month-long strike is going to cause real hardship for hundreds of thousands of people each day.

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Union members took part in a picket at Waterloo Station

SWR released a revised timetable and said it would provide longer trains to increase capacity where possible.

The operator runs services between London Waterloo and Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth as well as Reading, Exeter and Bristol. It also operates suburban commuter lines in south-west London, Surrey, Berkshire, and north-east Hampshire.

Strike days are as follows:

  • From 00:01 GMT on Monday 2 December until 23:59 on Wednesday 11 December
  • From 00:01 on Friday 13 December until 23:59 on Tuesday 24 December
  • From 00:01 on Friday 27 December 2019 until 23:59 on 1 January

Has your journey been affected? Email

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic move to Tottenham makes ‘no sense’ – Jose Mourinho

Ibrahimovic move ‘doesn’t make sense’ – Mourinho

Jose Mourinho says signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Tottenham “doesn’t make sense” because he has the “best striker in England” in Harry Kane.

Ibrahimovic, who played for Mourinho at Inter Milan and Manchester United, is available after his two-year spell at LA Galaxy ended.

The new Tottenham manager said he has “more than a connection” with the former Sweden forward.

But he said: “Amazing player, amazing guy, but I would say no chance.”

Mourinho, appointed Tottenham manager last Wednesday after the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, added: “We have the best striker in England. It doesn’t make sense to sign him when we have Harry Kane.”

England captain Kane scored last Saturday as Tottenham won 3-2 at West Ham in the Premier League.

He now has 175 goals in 269 games for Spurs, overtaking Martin Chivers to move third on the club’s all-time top scorer list.

Kane has overtaken Martin Chivers to become Spurs’ third all-time top scorer

But while Kane is central to his new manager’s plans, Mourinho said that the selection of Christian Eriksen – a substitute at West Ham – will be based on a “perspective of the future”.

The Denmark midfielder, 27, is out of contract next summer and has been the subject of intense transfer speculation since the club’s Champions League final defeat by Liverpool in June.

While dealing with Eriksen’s future, Mourinho also has to concentrate on the perceived hangover from that loss to Liverpool in Madrid.

“If Mauricio says that [losing the final affected the players] then he’s been here and he’s sharing his feelings. It’s like landing on the moon but you don’t do it,” he said.

“Look at Liverpool; they had the frustration of not winning and then the next season they reached the final and won it.”

Alli accepts Mourinho comment

Before Saturday’s win, Mourinho said he had asked midfielder Dele Alli “if he was Dele or Dele’s brother”, as the 23-year-old has been struggling with injury and poor performances.

Alli revealed that training-ground joke was the first thing Mourinho said to him after becoming Tottenham manager but accepted the criticism.

“A lot of people have been saying that, so it was nothing new,” Alli said. “In that sense, to have it honestly said to your face was nice because a lot of people would prefer to say it behind your back.

“It didn’t shock me. Playing in the Premier League, you expect it when you are not performing – to be criticised.

“It is just important you listen to the right people. I am my own biggest critic. I know what I need to work on.”

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Jodie Chesney: Two teens jailed for murder

Jodie Chesney

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Jodie Chesney was stabbed in the back as she sat with friends in a park

Two teenagers have been jailed for life for murdering a 17-year-old girl in an east London park.

Jodie Chesney was stabbed in the back as she sat with friends in Harold Hill on 1 March.

Svenson Ong-a-Kwie, 19, and Arron Isaacs, 17, were both convicted earlier this month after a trial at the Old Bailey.

Ong-a-Kwie, of Romford, will serve a minimum of 26 years while Isaacs was detained for at least 18 years.

Explaining the sentences, Judge Wendy Joseph QC told the court she was “satisfied” Svenson had stabbed Jodie while Isaacs was a “willing supporter”.

“When that knife was driven into Jodie, that intention was to kill,” she said.

Justice for Jodie: Searching for the Killers can be seen on BBC iPlayer in the UK and on YouTube.

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Harlequins: Laurie Dalrymple joins Premiership club as chief executive

Laurie Dalrymple first joined Wolves as head of commercial affairs in October 2014

Premiership club Harlequins have appointed Laurie Dalrymple as their new chief executive.

The 44-year-old left Premier League football club Wolves in July following four and a half years at Molineux.

“While I’ve worked in football most recently, rugby has always been my passion,” he told the club website.

“Following an inspiring World Cup, CVC’s investment into the league and a growing supporter base, Harlequins are well placed to capitalise.”

Dalrymple, who served as managing director of Wolves for three years, was previously executive director at the Ricoh Arena and international sales director at global event producer EMAP.

Quins chairman David Morgan said he will bring “a wealth of experience” to The Stoop.

“Laurie helped transform Wolves from a Championship club to an established member of the Premier League,” he added.

“I would again also like to thank David Ellis (Harlequins’ outgoing chief executive) for all his dedication, hard work and achievements over the past eight years.”

Harlequins are 10th in the Premiership table, having won only one of the their first four games of the season.

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Steve McQueen: Artist’s 600 billboards of London pupils

Year Three class photograph on billboards

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Theo Christelis

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One of three London billboards featuring Year 3 schoolchildren

A major outdoor art exhibition by an Oscar-winning artist has gone on display on billboards across London.

Turner Prize-winner and film-maker Steve McQueen’s billboards show class photographs of thousands of children from the capital’s schools.

The 613 posters across London’s 33 boroughs, featuring Year 3 pupils, celebrates the idea of citizenship and reflects the diversity of London.

McQueen said the project was inspired 21 years ago after he became a father.

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Steve McQueen

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Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen (pictured fifth left in the middle row) as a seven-year-old pupil at Little Ealing Primary School in 1977

“My hope is that through the billboards, millions of Londoners can reflect on the past, the present and the future not only of themselves but of their city,” he said.

“I am very excited that this portrait of London will be seen by so many people as part of their daily life in this great city that I love.”

Some 76,000 children, two thirds of London’s Year 3 pupils, were photographed for the accompanying exhibition at Tate Britain.

The Tate said: “Year 3 is considered a milestone year in a child’s development and sense of identity, when seven-and eight-year-olds become more conscious of a much bigger world beyond their immediate family.

“Steve McQueen’s project captures this moment of excitement, anticipation and hope through the medium of the traditional class photograph, with rows of smiling children sitting or standing alongside their teachers.”

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Theo Christelis

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Billboard with a photograph of a Year Three class

McQueen was born in London in 1969 and after becoming a renowned artist, he went on to make films Hunger, Shame, Widows and the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave.

When he started the project McQueen said: “When you first start education, things start to change. When you start being aware of gender, when you start being aware of race. When you start being aware of class.

“When those things come into your psyche – it can actually change your thoughts forever.”

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BBC London

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McQueen had invited all Year 3 pupils in London to take part in the project

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On why he chose to express his vision via the traditional school photograph, McQueen said: “The school photo is very formal. Kids are standing or sitting crossed legged with the teacher on the side.

“I used to love that format – and it’s a photo that reflects on that class, the school and also reflects on society.

“So a message that can be so local – when moulded with the other photographs – can become global.”

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FA Cup: Haringey Borough & Yeovil Town urge togetherness in replayed tie

Haringey were given a guard of honour on Saturday by opponents Horsham – who wore ‘United Against Racism’ t-shirts

Haringey and Yeovil say they want the “real winner to be football” in their replayed FA Cup match on Tuesday, after the original game was abandoned amid allegations of racial abuse.

The fourth qualifying round tie on 19 October was halted when Haringey boss Tom Loizou took his team off the field.

Two men were arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated common assault and later bailed without charge.

A Football Association investigation into the incident is ongoing.

“The testing times after the first game have resulted in a strong bond between the two clubs,” said a joint statement.