According to West Bromwich East MP and Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson, the future of the Labour Party is at risk and that a number of leftist supporters have enacted a “secret plan” to overthrow the party.
Watson said, “I regard this as a battle for the future existence of the Labour Party.”
The comment came amid claims that Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Trade Union Unite (Britain’s largest trade union) is planning to affiliate the Union to Momentum, a grassroots campaign of activists in support of Mr Corbyn. The news broke after The Observer obtained and published a tape of Lansem talking at the Momentum branch in Richmond. He said:
“Assuming that Len McCluskey wins the general secretaryship, which I think he will, Unite will affiliate to Momentum and will fully participate in Momentum, as will the CWU.”
Watson hit out at Lansman on Twitter, telling him: “You’ve revealed your plan. If you succeed you will destroy the Labour Party as an electoral force. So you have to be stopped.”
It is unknown whether Corbyn is aware of the plan, to which Watson said:
“I’m going to talk to him about it, I don’t know what he knows and doesn’t know.
“I’m the deputy leader and I didn’t know about it until I heard this recording. And I regard this as a battle for the future existence of the Labour Party. This is high stakes.
“What Jon Lansman has outlined is a plan with Len McCluskey, the leader of Unite, to take control of the Labour Party.”
He added, “The significance of this is that we have never seen the biggest union organising a political faction within the Labour Party with the tacit approval of the leadership.”
It is feared that Momentum would gain access to funding from the union, should Union be affiliated, and be able to take and retain control of the Labour party through its campaign organisation. If so, the Union, Momentum and even the CWU would have a firm hand in the control of the Labour party.
The West Midlands organsier of Unite, Gerard Coyne, and McCluskey’s election opponent, said: “I have been warning for weeks that Len was trying to act as puppet master to Jeremy Corbyn. Now the evidence is clear for all to see.”
“I have been warning for weeks that Len was trying to act as puppet master to Jeremy Corbyn. Now the evidence is clear for all to see.”
However, a Unite spokesman said: “As Unite has stated, repeatedly, it is for the Unite executive council, not the general secretary, to agree to which bodies our union aligns. There are no plans whatsoever for Unite to affiliate to Momentum, as has, again, been made repeatedly clear.
“It is extraordinary that the deputy leader of the Labour Party continues to interfere in Unite’s democracy in this way.”