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McCluskey slams ‘rancid and very cruel’ behaviour exposed in Labour's leaked report

Unite leader demands answers over potential misuse of funds contributed by unions to the party

LEN McCLUSKEY hit back today at the “politically crooked” Labour officials who conspired to take down Jeremy Corbyn as revealed in a leaked report. 

The Unite leader made his first public response to shocking revelations that senior party officials had deliberately worked for a Labour defeat in the 2017 general election. 

He stressed that the findings from the leaked report, which looked into how Labour HQ handled complaints of anti-semitism, “cannot be swept under the carpet.” 

Writing on Labour List today, Mr McCluskey said: “These politically crooked officials were prepared to risk dramatic damage to the interests of the British economy and working people just in order to scratch their factional itch.”

Mr McCluskey claimed that the senior team’s attempts to sabotage Labour’s chances in 2017 could present a case for breaches of electoral law.

“Since Unite was by far the largest single donor to the 2017 election campaign, giving around 75 per cent of total union donations, I have the right to expect an honest accounting for this,” he wrote. 

“Indeed, it seems we were also handing over money that was, unbeknown to the party NEC, allegedly being squirrelled away into secret slush funds devoted to supporting those MPs who party officialdom favoured.”

He noted that some of the officials concerned had “now secured peerages or been dubbed this-or-that of the British empire ‘for services to the Labour Party’.

“If they are to keep these distinctions, at the very least the citations should be changed to ‘services to the Tory Party’,” he declared.

The report, which was leaked on Easter Sunday, looked at tens of thousands of internal emails and WhatsApp chat groups between officials in the governance and legal unit (GLU) – the department that handles complaints – and other senior staff in Labour HQ. 

It found a litany of abusive, derogatory, misogynistic and bullying remarks made about Mr Corbyn, his team and supporters.

Mr McCluskey described the political culture prevailing in the GLU as “rancid, and very cruel.”

He said that critics of Mr Corbyn such as former Labour MP Ian Austin, who campaigned against Labour anti-semitism, had been quick to denounce the report rather than welcome evidence that the GLU had mishandled complaints. 

“This can only fuel the suspicion that they are only interested in challenging failings in addressing anti-semitism when they think these can be exclusively attributed to Jeremy Corbyn and the left, and are prepared to turn a blind eye to the negligence of those they consider their political allies,” Mr McCluskey said. 

The union leader stressed however that the report “should not be a crisis” for new Labour leader Keir Starmer, saying that the party should unite behind him. 

“It is absolutely right that his full focus now should be on the coronavirus crisis,” he noted. “But it falls to him and the party NEC to direct the clean-up.”

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