Union chief accuses ‘Corbyn-hating’ Labour MPs of anti-Semitism smear campaign
Speaking to the New Statesman, the Unite leader took aim at MPs Chris Leslie, Neil Coyle, John Woodcock, Wes Streeting and Ian Austin among others in a heated defense of his ally.
He claims the group are “working overtime trying to present the Labour Party as a morass of misogyny, anti-Semitism and bullying.”
“Their determination to divide the party into pro- and anti-Corbyn factions, despite the huge increase in Labour’s vote secured last year, ultimately pollutes everything it touches. That includes the work against anti-Semitism,” he said.
Len McCluskey has helped change the face of U.K. politics and made Labour a relevant political force again. He’s being rubbished by MPs who wouldn’t even touch trade union act. Truth is they are yesterday’s people - and they know it.— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) April 26, 2018
McCluskey is spot on. If deselection happened 2 yrs ago Labour would miles ahead of the Tories. Blaities won't stop until they destroy Corbyn or the party. Deselection/reselection must happen https://t.co/QLh5TFO67E— Dallo (@dallo100) April 25, 2018
McCluskey’s comments come after a number of Labour MPs used a Commons debate to urge Corbyn to stamp out anti-Semitism in the party. Jewish MPs Luciana Berger and Ruth Smeeth were given standing ovations after speaking passionately about their own experience of anti-Semitic threats.
Corbyn has acknowledged that it was ‘an uncomfortable fact’ that some Labour Party members and supporters held anti-Semitic views.
McCluskey derided the actions of the MPs as an attempt to undermine the Labour leader. “To watch as these so-called social democrats tried to demean and attack, in front of our enemy, a decent and honorable man who has fought racism and anti-Semitism all his life, and who has breathed life and hope back into the hearts of millions, especially the young, made my stomach churn. To see Tory MPs cheer and applaud them was shameful,” he said.
“I have fought anti-Semitism and anti-Semites all my life, including physically on the streets on occasion, and I need no lectures from anyone else on the subject. I am not sure that some of the voluble backbench critics of Jeremy Corbyn can say as much.”
Len McCluskey should focus on jobs for Unite members while he remains in post... I’m very happy to compare our records standing up for the programmes that support Unite members’ jobs in Barrow shipyard, Samslesbury and Warton. https://t.co/kG2J9HRFYw— John Woodcock (@JWoodcockMP) April 25, 2018
Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer rejected McCluskey’s comments on Thursday, stating that denial of anti-Semitism in the party was part of the problem. “I disagree with Len McCluskey. Jeremy Corbyn has made it clear, and it is obvious, that we have got a problem with anti-Semitism. We have got to deal with it robustly and effectively,” he told Today.
“Part of that is the disciplinary procedure, which needs to be much quicker and much more effective, but there is also a cultural question. Part of that cultural question is to stop those denying that there is even a problem. That is part of the problem. So I am afraid I disagree with Len on this.”
If you doubted the Tory media are a bunch of frauds who could not care less about anti-semitism but only want to smear the Labour movement then this is it. Len McCluskey said Anti-Semitism must be removed totally from Labour but they've twisted this into saying he is Anti-Semitic https://t.co/jT7L17s1Pb— 🇰🇷Shlomo🇨🇷 (@hapoelpolitics) April 25, 2018
McCluskey, 67, has served as the head of Unite since 2011. The union endorsed Corbyn during the 2015 leadership election and was crucial to his survival during the 2016 coup attempt.
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