TUC boss Frances O'Grady reveals Theresa May has only met her once since becoming PM

Posted On: 
22nd May 2018

Theresa May has only met the head of Britain's trade union movement once since becoming Prime Minister, it has been revealed.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady.
PA Images

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said she had met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the president of Ireland more often than Mrs May.

She said she also had "semi-regular" meetings with other ministers, including Chancellor Philip Hammond and Brexit Secretary David Davis.

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Speaking at a Westminster lunch, Ms O'Grady - who is campaigning for the UK to stay in the single market after Brexit - admitted she was "surprised" at the lack of contact between Number 10 and the TUC.

She said: "I've met Theresa May once, and I have in the past sometimes reflected on the fact that I've met Angela Merkel, the president of Ireland and various others many more times than our own Prime Minister. This isn't for me a left/right issue, they are countries where it's recognised that it's important not just to listen to business, but to listen to working people too.

"I do meet other ministers - Philip Hammond, David Davis, various others - on a semi-regular basis and I value that opportunity, whether it's me or other union leaders to get a fair hearing.

"With Jeremy (Corbyn) obviously I see him on a regular basis. I understand all politicians are busy."

She added: "I suspect things became more difficult after the last election. Had the election been decisive, we maybe would have been meeting on a regular basis."

Eloise Todd, chief executive of pro-EU campaign group Best For Britain, said: "This government is completely out of touch - not least with a representative of over 5.5m working people in this country. 

"But it’s no wonder Theresa May can’t look O’Grady in the eye. She knows all forms of Brexit will leave workers worse off, up and down the country. 

"The Government passed a dodgy deal with Nissan but they know that Brexit wil sound the death knell for manufacturing jobs in our country. Our PM should face up to these harsh truths rather than hide away."

A Number 10 source said: "The important thing is that we have taken action to protect and enhance workers’ rights."