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Unite general secretary Len McCluskey won prolonged applause from delegates when he defended his union’s role in the Falkirk constituency.
The applause reached a crescendo when Mr McCluskey asked the conference to demonstrate its support for Stevie Deans, former Unite convenor at the Grangemouth oil refinery.
Mr Deans was “a decent working man, a loyal Labour member and a trade unionist” who had been “hounded out of his job,” declared Mr McCluskey.
Unite had been doing in Falkirk what everybody now said they want unions to do — encouraging its members to join the Labour Party.
“So let me make one thing crystal clear. The party has said, the police — who should never have been involved — have said and I’m saying it here today, my union did nothing wrong.”
Mr McCluskey added: “Let me finally say to those elements inside the party who seek to edge us out, or to the grandees who snipe from the sidelines — this is our party and we are going nowhere.”
The Unite leader welcomed the opportunity for change provided by the Collins proposals.
Unite’s executive will later this week consider its membership affiliation payments to the Labour Party in the wake of the changes voted through on Saturday.
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