Len McCluskey: Jeremy Corbyn may quit if he cannot turn around 'awful' Labour performance

Posted On: 
2nd January 2017

Len McCluskey has put Jeremy Corbyn on notice by warning he may have to stand down as Labour leader if the party’s “awful” polling position does not improve by 2019. 

Jeremy Corbyn and Len McCluskey shake hands on stage
Credit: 
Isabel Infantes/EMPICS Entertainment

Mr McCluskey, who is seeking a third term as Unite’s general secretary, has been one of Mr Corbyn’s staunchest supporters since he was first elected leader in 2015.

He told the Mirror that his backing had been “based on critical support”, and that he would expect both the Labour leader and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell to consider their positions if it looked as if the party was poised for a comprehensive defeat in a general election.

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The union boss said: “Let’s suppose we are not having a snap election. It buys into this question of what happens if we get to 2019 and opinion polls are still awful.

“The truth is everybody would examine that situation, including Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell…

“These two are not egomaniacs, they are not desperate to cling on to power for power’s sake.”

Labour’s deficit in the polls, which has been present in almost every survey conducted since Mr Corbyn became leader, worsened in the second half of last year as the Conservatives frequently recorded double-digit leads over the opposition.

His comments come after other key Corbyn allies Diane Abbott and Ken Livingstone gave the Labour leader a year to turn around the party’s polling performance.

Mr McCluskey also issued another warning to the party leadership to “get its narrative right on free movement” – or risk losing further ground to Ukip.

Mr Corbyn and Ms Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary, have supported the idea of free movement but Mr McCluskey said Labour could only expose Ukip if people felt the party was “listening to their concerns and has solutions”.