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Wed, 17 April 2024

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By Bishop of Leeds
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Trade unions hit out at plans for major Labour shake-up before Jeremy Corbyn quits

2 min read

Trade unions have hit out at plans by allies of Jeremy Corbyn to carry out a major reorganisation of the Labour Party before he quits as leader.


PoliticsHome revealed on Sunday how Karie Murphy, Mr Corbyn's chief of staff, and Labour general secretary Jennie Formby have drawn up the changes in the wake of last month's general election defeat.

They are believed to include plans to change Labour's "analytics" team, which assesses data and polling, and also rip up the system of regional party organisers.

It is thought that the pair want the "far-reaching" changes - which would lead to some redundancies - to be in place by the end of March, before Mr Corbyn steps down.

The plans have already sparked a fierce backlash, with one Labour insider accusing Ms Murphy and Ms Formby of pursuing a "scorched earth" policy.

Now Unite and the GMB, which represent Labour Party staff, say any reorganisation should be put on hold until the new leader and deputy leader are in place.

Jo McIntyre of Unite and Paul Upex of the GMB have urged all the leadership and deputy leadership candidates to sign a statement opposing the changes.

It says: "As candidates in the leadership and deputy leadership campaigns we firmly believe that a thorough review should be the duty and the responsibility of the next leadership team when a full and frank debate has taken place.

"It would be a mistake for the party to undertake any steps towards reorganisation of the party until a new leader and deputy leader are in place."

A spokesperson for bookies' favourite Sir Keir Starmer said: "Keir wholeheartedly supports this statement. Hard working staff need immediate reassurance, not a rushed reorganisation.

"It’s important any structural changes to the Labour Party are undertaken by the new leadership team following a full consultation with staff and trade unions.”

Fellow candidate Lisa Nandy said: "Decisions on the future structure of the Labour Party should not be made in haste.

"We need to listen and learn the lessons from this election defeat and rebuild from there. It will take change from the top to the bottom of the Labour Party but we must do it together and in the right way."

PoliticsHome understands that Emily Thornberry and Jess Phillips, who are also running for leader, have backed the unions' stance as well.

A senior Labour Party source said: "Organisational review is normal and necessary after a general election. 

"Any staffing or structural changes would be subject to full consultation with the relevant trade unions."

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