EXCL Unite members ordered to 'dress smart and be solemn' at Jeremy Corbyn Chilcot speech

Posted On: 
6th July 2016

Unite members have been warned to wear "smart dress and be solemn" at a speech by Jeremy Corbyn this afternoon on the Chilcot report, PoliticsHome has learned.

Jeremy Corbyn will respond to the Chilcot report into the Iraq war later today
Credit: 
PA Images

The Labour leader will address a gathering of soldiers; families, Iraqis and supporters at Church House in Westminster at 5pm.

But emails seen by this website reveal fears among staff in Mr Corbyn's office that the event could be marred by inappropriate behaviour by some of those attending, leading to "negative press".

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They also show how Annaliese Midgley, the political director of Unite and a former key aide to Mr Corbyn, wrote to officials within the union trying to drum up support for the hastily-arranged event.

In an email she sent to Unite officials on Monday evening, Ms Midgley said: "See below request from LOTO (leader of the opposition's office). Are you able to attend and is there anyone else from London Region/members who would be good?"

The email she refers to says: "We need 15 people for audience at a Chilcott (sic) event with JC. They need to be solemn and we need to avoid any negative press. It's 3pm on Weds 6th - prob Church House. Can you help?"

PoliticsHome has seen another email to Unite members, from a senior official called 'Mike', which says: "We are looking for people to attend the event below regarding the Chilcott (sic) report with Jeremy Corbyn.

"Please note need to have smart dress and be solemn and no Corbyn memorabilia. This is not about Jeremy. Please let me know if you can attend."

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn confirmed that the event is due to take place at 5pm today.

"It is not known what Mr Corbyn will say, but he has in the past called for Tony Blair to face war crimes charges over the Iraq War.

A senior Labour source said: "No one from the Labour party has been asked to help arrange the audience for this event, it's all being handled by the leader's office. 

"The Unite email says that this event is 'not about Jeremy', but it's pretty clear that it's all about Jeremy."