Tom Watson warns of 'entryism' as tape reveals Momentum plan to link up with Unite

Posted On: 
19th March 2017

Labour's deputy leader has spoken out after a leaked tape revealed plans for leftwing campaign group Momentum to join forces with the UK's biggest trade union, Unite.

Momentum chair Jon Lansman speaking at the group's The World Transformed event
PA Images

A recording obtained by the Observer shows Momentum founder Jon Lansman discussing plans for the union to affiliate to his group if Len McCluskey is re-elected as general secretary. 

Mr McCluskey is currently engaged in a hard-fought contest for the top job against challenger Gerard Coyne and leftwinger Ian Allinson. 

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Speaking to Momentum activists in south London, Mr Lansman revealed his plans for a tie-up between Momentum and Unite. 

“Assuming that Len McCluskey wins the general secretaryship, which I think he will, Unite will affiliate to Momentum and will fully participate in Momentum," he said.

That prompted a severe warning from Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, who is a member of Unite and used to share a flat with Mr McCluskey.

"I warned last year of entryism and no one can now doubt that threat is a real one," he said.

“For Unite to affiliate to Momentum it would require the approval of its executive committee. I hope Len McCluskey hasn’t made promises without clearing them through the democratic structures of our union.”

But a Unite spokesman played down the idea of any imminent affiliation, saying: “Affiliation to Momentum is a matter for our executive council alone and no discussion on the matter is scheduled.”