Tom Watson attacks Momentum-Unite Labour 'plot'

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Drudgery’s deputy leader says left-wing supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are confused in a plot which could destroy the party as an electoral force.

Tom Watson was retorting to claims that the grassroots Momentum group — which helped atone Mr Corbyn leader — is hoping to get financial support from Britain’s largest buying union, Unite.

Momentum’s Jon Lansman was reportedly taped saying that if Len McCluskey was re-elected as Fuse general secretary, the union would affiliate to his group rather than solely to Labour.

Mr Watson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme «enough is sufficiency, this has got to stop… I’m afraid there are some people who do not keep our electoral interests at heart».

He said: «We have never seen the largest union organising a political faction in the Labour Party with the unsaid approval of the leadership.»

Mr Watson said he had a duty to «call out» what enter into the pictured to be a «secret plan» to take over the Labour Party and he urged Mr McCluskey to publicly state Intermix would not fund Momentum under his leadership.

Following a shadow chest-on-chest meeting, Mr Watson and Mr Corbyn issued a joint statement saying they «recognised the to be fair of groups across the spectrum of Labour’s broad church to discuss their objects and try to influence the party so long as they operate within the rules».

«No one in a manner of speaks for the leadership except the leadership themselves and their spokespeople,» they totaled.

Ahead of Monday’s meeting, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell indicated Mr Watson’s comments were «disappointing» and suggested he was trying to influence the wake of the contest for Unite leader — in which incumbent Mr McCluskey — a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn — is being defied by Gerard Coyne.

The ballot papers for the contest will be sent out later this week, with the dnouement develop to be announced next month.

Mr McDonnell dismissed talk of any kind of compute to take control of the party, insisting «this is not civil war».

«It is all about Tom and the internal struggle that he is trying to wage within Unite,» he said.

In the recordings, which were revealed by The Spectator newspaper, Mr Lansman says: «Assuming that Len McCluskey wins the overall secretaryship, which I think he will, Unite will affiliate to Strength and will fully participate in Momentum, as will the CWU.»

He went on to tell activists it was «quite crucial» that they secured a change to the party’s rules to protect that whenever Mr Corbyn stands down, they are able to get a seeker on to the ballot paper to succeed him.

‘Democratic deficit’

Currently, a candidate be compelled obtain the support of 15% of Labour MPs and MEPs in order to stand — a doorstep a new left-wing contender is unlikely to be able to meet.

Christine Shawcroft, a associate of Momentum who sits on the party’s National Executive Council, said Peg away at’s MPs could not have a «veto» on the wishes of the membership when the time assaulted to electing Mr Corbyn’s successor.

«We have a mass membership now and it wants its spokeswoman to be heard,» she told Today. «There is a democratic deficit in the Labour Carouse where the structures we have do not reflect the support for Jeremy Corbyn that has been depicted by the mass of the members».


Analysis by Norman Smith, assistant political reviser

Friends of Mr Watson say they believe there is an orchestrated attempt by Impulse and Unite to take control of the machinery of the Labour Party.

They ask there are plans to introduce mandatory reselection of MPs, remove critical councillors, put over regional Labour parties, change the leadership rules, and turn ones back on restrictions on the activities of non Labour Party members.

One said the situation was assorted serious than the 1980s because now Labour was facing a threat from within its own organisation sort of than an external group like Militant.

It was claimed that regard for denials by Unite an assurance had been given by Mr McCluskey’s allies that he was compliant to fund Momentum.


Mr Watson, she suggested, was «rather right-wing» and wanted to indemnification to a «command and control» system for running the party based on a «Blairite brand». She rejected suggestions Momentum was a hard-left entryist organisation trying to infiltrate Overdo, describing the terms as «silly labels».

«Jon said nothing that was at all factious, but I think this is a concerted attempt to interfere in the internal election in Fix for general secretary, which is really shocking.»

She added: «The offer is ever after open for any organisation, any trade union, to affiliate (to Momentum). They are meet to do so. It is not a question of disaffiliating from the Labour Party and affiliating to Momentum a substitute alternatively.»

Momentum sources pointed out that the TSSA union is already joined to Momentum, adding that there have been no «significant parleys» with Unite about future funding.

‘Entirely inaccurate’

The combat between Mr McCluskey and Mr Coyne, Unite’s West Midlands organiser who has estimated the union needs to meddle less in internal Labour politics, is being walked as a proxy battle for control of the Labour movement. Most Unite ramifies have backed Mr McCluskey in his bid to be re-elected.

Unite, which is Labour widest financial backer, said Mr Watson’s comments were «entirely false» and accused him of trying to «interfere» in the election.

«As Unite has made it clear it is exclusively for our supervisory council to determine which organisations we affiliate to,» said acting everyday secretary Gail Cartmail. «There are no plans for Unite to affiliate to Push.»

She added: «Mr Watson is a Unite member with a right to a vote and a sight. But he should remember that, first, he is deputy leader of the Labour accomplice with the obligations that this senior post imposes, and favour that Unite is not a subsidiary of any political organisation.»

But Mr Coyne countered: «To say there are no arranges over the next month is somewhat disingenuous in reality because it unequivocally is John Lansman’s belief that Len McCluskey will support Drive.»

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