'You are the face of this': Tom Swarbrick interrogates BMA leader on picket line absence

14 June 2023, 17:27

Rob Laurenson explains his reasons for not being on the picket line during the last walk-out

By Grace Parsons

Junior Doctors Committee co-chairman defended his absence at a picket line after Tom Swarbrick noted that he had attended a wedding during strike action.

Co-chairman of the Junior Doctors Committee Dr Rob Laurenson justified his absence at the picket line, after explaining how he'd missed funerals of friends because there "weren't enough doctors" for him to take annual leave.

Tom Swarbrick challenged: "Your strike action has meant that people have been unable to get an appointment, you're not on the picket lines, you're not even losing a day's pay because you're striking, you've gone to a wedding - what message do you think that sends?"

The junior doctor responded: "We have one in seven junior doctors leaving the country every year and that's a significant rate of attrition that no industry or business could actually [maintain]."

READ MORE: Wes Streeting sends strong message to PM over junior doctors' strikes which could happen 'every month into next year'

Tom challenged: "It's a big problem, but you are the face of this, you are the front and centre of this, and you're also a junior doctor so you're not a full-time trade union leader.

"If a junior doctor on strike decided to go for a wedding maybe that's more acceptable but you've been making the case publicly, you're in the talks with Steve Barclay - do you not feel you had some responsibility to be there with your colleagues on the picket line during those days?"

Dr Laurenson defended his absence: "I am 28 years old. I have missed the funerals of friends because there weren't enough doctors for me to take annual leave... I promised to myself that I would never let work refuse me the opportunities to go and see family and friends' weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, funerals.

"Junior doctors appreciate the pragmatism that is involved in an industrial dispute, which is to withdraw one's labour to demonstrate the value in the labour."

READ MORE: Train driver strikes extended for another six months amid long-running pay dispute

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player

More Tom Swarbrick

See more More Tom Swarbrick

Lord Harrington said there should be a cap on the number of asylum seekers the UK takes.

Former refugees minister Lord Harrington calls for a cap on the number of asylum seekers the UK takes

Mel Stride has backed the PM

Rishi Sunak has 'absolutely not' betrayed nation over Rwanda plan, insists minister after Braverman's attack on PM

Tom and caller

'Our family is there': Mother shares heartbreaking experience of being a British Jew during Israel-Hamas conflict

The ban will be brought into effect in months

'Children should be in the classroom to learn': Gillian Keegan orders 'blanket ban' of mobile phones in schools

Exclusive
Tributes have been paid to Elianne after she was stabbed to death in Croydon

Fellow pupil of schoolgirl stabbed to death in Croydon describes heartbreaking moment students were told of her killing

Scotland's first safe drug consumption space set to be openned

'Isn't this just decriminalising heroin?': Tom Swarbrick questions Labour MSP over first safe drug consumption room

The education secretary discusses educational reforms with Tom Swarbrick

Shadow education secretary says 'Building Schools for the Future Programme' would have prevented Raac crisis

Tom Swabrick

'Is it not completely mental?': Tom Swarbrick astonished as schools shut due to crumble-risk concrete before new term

Exam results

Equation sheets given to GCSE cohort in attempt lessen reduced grade inflation blow, schools minister says

Crime commentator on Adam Provan

Internal review of rapist ex-Met officer is the equivalent of 'marking your own homework', says crime commentator

Education Secretary discuss new Eton free schools on LBC

‘Bailed out by Eton’: Education Secretary discusses new free schools with Tom Swarbrick

Lucy Letby: We have to know what went so 'catastrophically wrong' says Tom Swarbrick

Lucy Letby: We have to know what went so 'catastrophically wrong' says Tom Swarbrick

Exclusive
Lord Edward Garnier has called for a public inquiry into Andrew Malkinson's case

Top lawyer blasts Andrew Malkinson rape case as the 'worst miscarriage of justice of the 21st century'

Suella Barge

Suella Braverman can't be blamed for housing migrants on barge with Legionella, ConservativeHome editor says

Tom Swarbrick on mortgages

It would be 'manifestly unfair' to use taxpayers' money to subsidise mortgages, Tom Swarbrick says

Tom Swarbrick

'It's a case of Ulez you lose', Tom Swarbrick tells Tory chairman as Conservatives retain Uxbridge seat