Unite’s slap-down of Watson’s desperate tactic

As the SKWAWKBOX showed this morning, Tom Watson’s ‘take-over’ smear against Labour’s Corbyn-supporting majority left was both desperate and completely hypocritical. It seems Unite agrees – and the union was scathing in its put-down of the deputy Labour leader and of the BBC, which gave him an unchallenged platform for its nonsense.

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Here it is in full:

Unite statement on Tom Watson MP’s claims on Momentum and Unite 20 March 2017

Responding to the claims made today (Monday 20 March) in the national media by Tom Watson MP, deputy leader of the Labour party, Unite’s acting general secretary Gail Cartmail said:

“Tom Watson has made claims about Unite and its general secretary Len McCluskey which are entirely inaccurate.

“As Unite has made it clear it is exclusively for our executive council to determine which organisations we affiliate to. There are no plans for Unite to affiliate to Momentum. For the record, Len McCluskey has never met Jon Lansman to discuss this or any other matter.

“It is extraordinary that the deputy leader of the Labour party should interfere in Unite’s democracy in this way, and it is very disappointing that he was allowed to make his unsupported claims without being challenged, and that the BBC ignored the Unite statement with which it had been provided well in advance.

“Mr Watson’s latest, and misguided, campaign is part of an unprecedented pattern of interference in the current Unite general secretary election by elected Labour politicians who should, frankly, be concentrating on their own responsibilities.

“Mr Watson is a Unite member with a right to a vote and a view. But he should remember that, first, he is deputy leader of the Labour party with the obligations that this senior post imposes, and second that Unite is not a subsidiary of any political organisation.”

Unite has complained to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that the statement the union provided in good faith last night was only used in part and following representations from the union this morning. The union has also complained that Mr Watson was allowed to make his extraordinary claims about Unite and its general secretary without being subject to any demand for evidence.

Watson’s behaviour this morning is, though, less a pattern of interference ‘by elected Labour policitians’ than a pattern of interference by Tom Watson, since he’s been breaking his own ‘golden rule‘ relentlessly in support of blairite challenger Gerard Coyne.

But then, Coyne himself has been busily interfering in Labour politics in exactly the way he claims he wants to stop – and engaging in the same desperate tactics as Watson. So they make a nice pair of hopeless bookends.

If you want to read more from Unite, you can do so here.

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  1. I was shocked by the Tom Watson interview on Radio4’s ‘Today’ programme this morning. He and John Humphreys were like a couple of friendly lads meeting up for a beer. It was disgraceful as a political interview. By comparison, when John McDonnell was ‘interviewed’ recently, he was barely allowed to speak.

  2. The whole business with Tom Watson smacks of desperation. He doesn’t think anything through.

  3. Being used to biased interviews on the BBC against the Labour Left, it comes as no surprise as each day of the week we get a party political broadcast on behalf of the TORY PARTY!
    There is no BALANCE WHAT SO EVER the BBC are the main CULPRITS but not the only ones who are!

  4. “For the record, Len McCluskey has never met Jon Lansman to discuss this or any other matter.”

    If you believe that they have never met you’ll believe anything.

  5. Time for Unite to expel both Watson and Coyne for bringing it into disrepute.

    I say this as a long-time paid up member of the union.

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