Tom Watson slams Len McCluskey after fresh blast at 'Corbyn-hater' Labour MPs
Tom Watson has renewed his war of words with Len McCluskey as he hit out at the union boss for urging Labour activists to oust MPs critical of Jeremy Corbyn.
The Labour deputy leader said the deselection regime encouraged by the Unite general secretary would be “a mistake and a diversion from our ability to campaign against Tory austerity”.
Mr McCluskey told the BBC local parties should oust “stale” MPs, adding: "They should leave and I won't cry over it."
But Mr Watson told Sky News: “Len McCluskey is a very controversial figure and he's very critical of people who are supposed to be on his side a lot of the time.
“Every Labour MP is selected by their local party to stand at every general election.
“If he's saying that we should start removing hard-working Labour MPs from office then I think that would be a mistake and would be a diversion from our ability to campaign against Tory austerity, which I assume Mr McCluskey wants Labour MPs to be doing.”
The Unite boss had said some MPs had behaved as though they had a “job for life, and they don’t need to respond to anyone”.
He added: "Well now, in Corbyn's Labour people have to respond to their local party members...
"Now, if the local members decide they don't represent them anywhere and use the appropriate procedures, they should leave and I won't cry over it."
It comes after Mr McCluskey launched a blistering attack on “Corbyn-hater” MPs last month, naming Chris Leslie, Neil Coyle, John Woodcock, Wes Streeting and Ian Austin among his targets.
He said they were part of "a dismal chorus whose every dirge makes winning a Labour government more difficult".
And he said critics of the leader were “working overtime trying to present the Labour party as a morass of misogyny, anti-Semitism and bullying”.