Unite boss Len McCluskey slams Angela Eagle bid to overthrow Jeremy Corbyn

Posted On: 
11th July 2016

The boss of Britain’s biggest trade union has hit out at Angela Eagle for “abandoning” vulnerable people in their hour of need in her bid to overthrow Jeremy Corbyn.

Unite boss Len McCluskey is backing Jeremy Corbyn amid a leadership coup
Credit: 
PA Images

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey questioned whether Ms Eagle had given “thirty seconds thought” to steel workers whose jobs were on the line or the oil and gas industry which faces “obliteration”.

The former shadow business secretary this morning argued Mr Corbyn was unable to “provide the leadership” to win a general election as she launched her bid for the top job.

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Mr Corbyn has refused to quit as leader despite more than 60 Labour MPs resigning their frontbench positions in an attempt to force him out and an overwhelming vote of no confidence.

Speaking at the Unite conference today, Mr McCluskey criticised the “cowardly attack” on Mr Corbyn at a time for “unity and a calm voice” after the vote for Brexit.

“This was an attempted political lynching, designed to bully and bludgeon Jeremy Corbyn, this deeply decent and kind man, out of the job he was elected to do,” he railed.

“It has snowballed into a wrecking operation against the Labour party itself, destroying it at least temporarily as a parliamentary force.”

Turning his ire on Ms Eagle, he asked: “Let me ask Angela Eagle, who I regard as an old friend, but who resigned as Business Secretary a question:

“Did you give thirty seconds thought as to how this would help the workers at Tata, fighting for a future made still more uncertain by Brexit? 

“Or the oil and gas industry facing obliteration? Or have they been abandoned in their moment of need?”

Mr McCluskey vowed that the “instigators” of the "squalid coup" would be “branded forever” for betraying their party and country and for putting their “selfish interests first”.

Speaking later to the BBC he said he was not talking about deselection of MPs “at the moment” but that the Unite conference would be discussing it later in the week.

He added the coup instigators “should not be sleeping easy at night in terms of what they have done”. 

And he said Mr Corbyn must automatically be on the ballot paper of the leadership race to avoid deeper divisions in the party - a stance disputed by those against the embattled leader.

'NOT BLAIRITE, BROWNITE, CORBYNISTA'

Ms Eagle has now received enough nominations from fellow MPs to trigger a leadership contest.

At her launch in central London today, she declared: “Jeremy Corbyn is unable to provide the leadership this huge task needs.

“I believe I can. I’m not a Blairite. I’m not a Brownite. I’m not a Corbynista.

“I am my own woman. A strong Labour woman.”

She added: “I would not do this if I did not think I had something to offer to bring our party and our country back together.

“And I would not do this if I did not think I could be a good prime minister for Britain.”