Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been accused of "showboating" and "enjoying" the Southern rail strikes, which have left hundreds of thousands of commuters stranded.

Keith Prince, the transport spokesman for the Conservatives at the Greater London Authority (GLA), told IBTimes UK that Khan should directly intervene in the dispute in a bid to stop travel chaos.

The Tory conceded that Khan has no power over Southern, but claimed the top Labour politician could use meetings with trade unions officials, where Transport for London (TfL) issues would be discussed, to call for an end to the walkouts.

"It wouldn't hard, would it, for him to just turn to [the general secretaries of the Aslef and RMT unions] and say 'By the way, guys, you are causing an awful lot of pain and grief here, is there any chance we could have a meeting around the table with yourselves and Southern?" Prince said.

He added: "[Khan's] funded by some of the unions [and] he should be in position whereby he is the voice of reason, but he's sitting back and enjoying it, frankly".

Khan has offered to put a senior team of TfL officials in "immediate control" of Southern rail as an emergency measure to "end the chaos for commuters", a gesture Prince branded as "showboating".

"That was just a press release, wasn't it? That was just showboating," he said. "[Khan] has been challenged by Gareth Bacon, the leader of the Conservative group in the GLA, to say what the size of the team was and who he had in mind...he doesn't even know who they would be."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
Mayor of London Sadiq KhanJack Taylor/ Getty Images

"He's funded by some of the unions [and] he should be in position whereby he is the voice of reason. But he's sitting back and enjoying it, frankly".

But Khan is not the only senior politician who has been blamed for a failure to resolve the dispute over the role of rail guards. The Association of British Commuters staged demonstrations outside the Department for Transport on Thursday night (15 December) calling for Chris Grayling's resignation. The Transport Secretary has offered to have talks with Aslef and RMT officials.

Meanwhile, negotiations between the transport unions and Southern management failed to find a resolution on Thursday. All of the parties have said they are open to further talks at mitigation service Acas.

Aslef and RMT drivers are carrying out another 24-hour long walkout on Friday, with Southern conductors represented by the RMT walkout out for 24 hours on 19 December and again on 31 December.

A spokesman for the Mayor of London had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.