WATCH: Jeremy Corbyn calls for end to 'navel-gazing' after Momentum plot fury
Jeremy Corbyn has called for an end to “navel gazing” as he launched a direct appeal to Labour members to campaign for the party ahead of May’s elections.
The Labour leader said spirits had “run high” yesterday after a furious row erupted between his deputy Tom Watson, left-wing grassroots campaign Momentum and Britain’s largest union, Unite.
Mr Corbyn’s office also became embroiled in the furore last night as angry Labour MPs attacked his team of advisers over briefings against Mr Watson following a Shadow Cabinet away day.
But in a recorded message posted on Twitter following another tempestuous meeting of the Parliamentary Labour party, Mr Corbyn sought to play down the furore.
“Sometimes spirits in the Labour party can run high. Today has been one of those days. That’s because we’re a passionate party," he said.
"So I’m going to send a message to all party members: I want to make it absolutely clear, members are an asset, as a party we must do more to involve and empower them.”
He added: “From the smallest branch right up to the leader’s office, our whole party must focus on the challenges and opportunities ahead for us in our journey to fundamentally transform this country in the interests of the people of this country.
"That next stage is May’s local elections. To win, we need unity not navel gazing.
“My plea to all Labour party members, whether grassroots or in senior positions, is think of our people first, think of our movement first, think of the party first.
"If you’re a member, please come out with all of us on the doorstep in these upcoming elections, and help secure the victories for our party.
"Please also get involved as much as you can in our party and help others to do the same.
“With clarity of purpose for that rebuilt and transformed Britain we all want, and with mass participation of our members, Labour can win for the people of Britain.”
You can watch the full video below:
In a secret recording Momentum chief Jon Lansman claimed Unite would affiliate to the group if Len McCluskey is re-elected its general secretary.
Mr Lansman also claimed an early election would "disrupt" Momentum's plans to take a more influential role in how the Labour party is run.
Responding, Mr Watson said Labour was fighting a battle for its “future existence” in trying to prevent Momentum from taking over the party.
But both the grassroots movement and Unite dismissed the claims, with Mr McCluskey claiming the charges were a “deliberate attempt to sensationalise something” in order to influence the union’s elections.
"Really, Tom and the other right-wing Labour MPs would be best keeping their nose out of our business because the truth of the matter is, my members will reject any attempt from outside bodies to influence and to try to take over Unite - it won't work," he said.