Union bosses come out fighting as gloves are off in Labour’s general secretary scrap
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has hit back at comments by a top Momentum activist.
When Momentum founder Jon Lansman announced that he was challenging Unite boss Jennie Formby for the job of Labour general secretary, the battle lines could not have been clearer.
“The first major Unions/Momentum skirmish is already causing some disquiet within Labour's ranks,” we noted in a piece on Lansman’s candidacy.
A week later that is starting to look like an understatement...
Writing on her Facebook page, veteran activist and senior Momentum official Christine Shawcroft argued that Lansman should be general secretary because “only someone from his tradition will support the rights of rank and file members in the CLPs".
Going further, she claimed that the major trade unions “stick it to the rank and file members time after time after time” and even called for Labour to break its historic links with the trade union movement.
Naturally the comments from Shawcross - who is an ally of Jeremy Corbyn and has been on Labour's ruling national executive committee for over a decade - sparked a furious backlash from union bosses after they were revealed today by PoliticsHome.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Christine Shawcroft is a member of the Labour party. The clue is in the name. We are the party of labour, founded by the trade union movement. Her proposals for disaffiliation aid the most backwards forces in our society and she should withdraw them.”
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis stated: “Christine Shawcroft’s comments are wrong on every count. Trade Unions are an integral and historic part of the Labour Party. This is no time for this kind of divisive nonsense - we need to focus on getting Labour elected.”
Also weighing in today was Corbyn’s former chief of staff Simon Fletcher, once described as “the linchpin of the Corbyn operation”.
He argued: “The Labour left advances most clearly when it builds an alliance of the CLP left and the unions. The demand to break the union link is longstanding goal of the right in British society. This intervention tips disorientation over into rottenness.”