Chuka Umunna doesn't quite do as he's told by Len McCluskey

Written by David Singleton on 5 October 2018 in Diary

Watch: The Labour MP appeared alongside Michael Portillo on This Week.

Chuka Umunna was down to make a fleeting appearance at the Progress rally at last week’s Labour conference, but his most talked-about-moment may have been when Len McCluskey accused him of plotting against the Labour leader.

"If the centre ground is fighting for a better deal for working people and protecting our communities, look no further. It’s right here in the Labour Party,” said the Unite boss. “So Chuka, drop the country club plotting. Listen to working people the length and breadth of the country. Get behind the party that made you."

A week later fans of the Streatham MP will be reassured to hear that despite McCluskey’s strict orders, he has not turned into a fully-fledged Corbynista yet.

Appearing on the BBC's This Week programme, Umunna did not admit that he’d like to lead a new centrist party. But he did express regret that “we are looking at what’s going on here through the prism of two old parties”.

And asked whether he was closer to Jeremy Corbyn's speech and Theresa May's speech, Umunna did not choose his own leader's address. Rather, he was clear that “there are elements of Mrs May’s speech that large swathes of the Labour party would agree with”.




It’s not quite the same response to May's speech that the Labour party provided to journalists on Wednesday morning.

Rather party chair Ian Lavery fumed: “While the country is crying out for real change, all Theresa May and her party offer are pinched ideas and tinkering around at the edges, relying on petty attacks to cover up their lack of vision. Theresa May has shown her party offers no answers, no ideas, and no hope for communities held back for too long.”



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