Len McCluskey: Unite ‘angry’ over payouts to Panorama whistleblowers
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Len McCluskey: Unite ‘angry’ over payouts to Panorama whistleblowers

Union leader says it was an 'absolute mistake and wrong to pay out huge sums of money to individuals who were suing the Labour Party'

Len McCluskey on Newsnight
Len McCluskey on Newsnight

Unite boss Len McCluskey said members are “angry” over payouts to Panorama whistleblowers, as his union cuts affiliation funding to Labour.

He made his comments on Tuesday speaking to BBC Newsnight after his Union’s executive decided to slash money it gives to the party, warning leader Sir Keir Starmer not to move it too far from the left.

This comes after Labour paid “substantial damages” and issued a public apology to ex-staffers who appeared in a Panorama expose into its handling of antisemitism, in July.

Speaking on Newsnight, the trade union leader said: “There’s already some anger at the fact that the Labour Party paid out significant sums of money to individuals involved in that Panorama programme.”

Asked why, he said: “They are angry because they thought it was an absolute mistake and wrong, to pay out huge sums of money to individuals who were suing the Labour Party based on the Panorama programme, when Labour’s own legal people were saying that they [the whistleblowers] would lose that case if it went to court, so we shouldn’t have paid them anything.”

Community leaders criticised the moved, with a spokesperson for the Jewish Labour Movement saying: “Len McCluskey’s decision to withhold funds from the Labour Party over its financial settlement with the Panorama whistleblowers shows how skewed Unite’s priorities are.”

Meanwhile, Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “It is hugely ironic, and doubly shameful, that the leader of a trade union which exists to protect workers’ rights, should attack the Labour Party for compensating workers who were harassed, humiliated and in one case nearly driven to suicide by the actions of their employers while trying to do their job”.

After the payout was announced, ex leader Jeremy Corbyn branded it a “political decision, not a legal one”, while McCluskey said there was “no doubt” Unite, which is Labour’s biggest financial donor, would review its financial support for the party.

McCluskey told Newsnight: “I think funding arrangements is undoubtedly an issue that may come up” when he meets the executive next week, but “I don’t see at the moment any dramatic move to disaffiliate from the Labour Party.”

 

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments