Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson make unity plea amid Momentum plot row

Posted On: 
20th March 2017

Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson have called for Labour unity following claims that hard-left campaign group Momentum was mounting a takeover of the party.

Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson after a crunch Shadow Cabinet meeting today
Credit: 
PA Images

The pair issued a joint statement following a Shadow Cabinet away day which was overshadowed by the row.

Mr Watson accused Momentum founder Jon Lansman, a close ally of Mr Corbyn, of "entryism" after a secret recording emerged of him setting out his plans for Labour's future.

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In a speech to supporters - a recording of which has been obtained by PoliticsHome - Mr Lansman rallied his troops to take control of key Labour decision-making committees.

He also claimed that an early general election would "disrupt" Momentum's plans to have greater influence in how Labour is run.

A furious Mr Watson said the comments showed why Mr Lansman "must be stopped" from destroying the party as an electoral force.

In a clear reference to the constroversy, the Labour leadership team said all groups which try to influence the party must "operate within the rules".

Their statement said: "The Shadow Cabinet agreed on the need to strengthen party unity.

"It recognised the right of groups across the spectrum of Labour’s broad church to discuss their views and try to influence the party so long as they operate within the rules.

"The leadership represents the whole party and not any one strand within it. No one speaks for the leadership except the leadership themselves and their spokespeople.

"The Shadow Cabinet agreed our local and mayoral election strategy and what a united Labour party can and must offer the whole country after seven years of Tory austerity in terms of jobs, housing, education and health and social care.

"We will fight for a Britain where people aren’t held back and where everyone in every community can lead a richer life."