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