McCluskey brands Corbyn suspension ‘unjust’, but urges members to stay in party

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McCluskey brands Corbyn suspension ‘unjust’, but urges members to stay in party

Unite official, who said 'funding arrangements' may be reconsidered over payouts to whistleblowers, claimed it was 'wrong' for Corbyn to be suspended but hopes to resolve the issue

Len McCluskey (Photo credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)
Len McCluskey (Photo credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

Unite union leader Len McCluskey has hit out at the decision to suspend his close ally Jeremy Corbyn as “unjust”.

The trade union boss, who caused outrage in 2017 when he branded Labour antisemitism claims “mood music” to criticise the former leader, made his remarks after Corbyn suspended for his reaction to the release of  the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report on antisemitism.

He said it “wrong what happened, but now is the time for some calmness so we can see if we can resolve this.”

He said yesterday, when the EHRC report was released “should have been about moving on from antisemitism and embracing” what it said “which Keir did.”

“Unfortunately now we’ve all been knocked off the rails a little bit by Jeremy’s suspension.

It was unjust – and hopefully with discussions that can take place we can resolve this and we can move on.”

Asked if it will divide the party, he says he hopes the issue can be resolved, and his message to “literally hundreds-of-thousands of our members who are already expressing their anger, is to stay in the party. We need the party to be united. Working people out there need us..”

Sir Keir Starmer meanwhile insisted there is “no reason for a civil war” in the Labour Party after anger from some on the left over Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension for his response to a damning antisemitism report.

The Labour leader appealed for unity and for an end to “factional fighting” on Friday amid fallout from the Equality and Human Rights Commission finding the party broke equality law when Mr Corbyn was in charge.

McCluskey was particularly critical of Labour’s payout to whistleblowers over the party’s handling of antisemitism under Corbyn.

“I think funding arrangements is undoubtedly an issue that may come up,” Mr McCluskey added in an interview with BBC Newsnight.

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