Len McCluskey: 'Cabal' of Labour MPs using Unite election to attack Jeremy Corbyn

Posted On: 
9th April 2017

Trade union leader Len McCluskey has vowed to demand “answers” over Labour MPs’ actions in the Unite leadership election.

The next Unite leader will be known on 28 April
Credit: 
PA Images

Mr McCluskey, who is seeking a third term as Unite’s general secretary, claimed MPs opposed to Jeremy Corbyn were using the contest as a way to undermine the Labour leader.

He said there was a “cabal” of Labour figures – including deputy Labour leader Tom Watson, John Spellar, Jack Dromey and West Midlands mayoral candidate Sion Simon – who were “skilled masters of the darks arts" and trying to boost his rival Gerard Coyne.

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In an interview with The Observer, he said: “That is precisely what the media want it to be, and what the right-wing of the Labour party want it to be, and they have a puppet in Gerard Coyne that they can use.”

“Remember, those people who are running Coyne’s campaign are skilled masters of the dark arts.

“It is in their DNA and, though it is normal in political elections, it’s quite unique that they have brought this into a trade union election.”

Mr McCluskey accused Mr Coyne of running "a shameful campaign full of lies, innuendoes and smears".

“This will all be resolved by the union once this election is over. The union will be seeking answers from the Labour party on how this has been allowed to happen in this way,” he said.

He added: “I am not seeking for the Labour party to do any heavy-handed review. I am just bringing it to the attention of the party that things have happened that should not have happened.”

Mr McCluskey and Mr Watson have been at loggerheads in recent weeks, after Labour’s deputy leader warned the party faces a battle for its “future existence” if hard-left group Momentum were to boost its influence in the party through the powerful trade union. 

The claim followed a recording obtained by the Observer showed Momentum founder Jon Lansman discussing plans for the union to affiliate to his group if Len McCluskey is re-elected as general secretary. 

When asked about Mr Watson, Mr McCluskey said: “People keep asking me what’s happened to Tom. I can’t really give you a proper answer. I don’t really know.

“We have not spoken since last July and it is sad that you lose friends but it is even sadder that Tom has turned on those of his friends who he relied upon in his darkest hours.

“He will have to answer to himself when he looks in the mirror every morning.”