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Transport Secretary claims unions walked out of talks

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has claimed that unions "walked out" of strike talks earlier this afternoon, in a statement in parliament.

"The unions are in daily talks with the employers," he said, adding: "Or at least they were until they walked out an hour ago to go and hold a press conference saying that the strikes would be on."

However, Labour accused Mr Shapps of failing to engage in talks himself while refusing to give Network Rail a mandate to negotiate on pay - making talks pointless.

RMT leader Mick Lynch a short time ago accused Mr Shapps of "fabricating" stories about the unions.

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