Analysis Exclusive

Excl: Unison, Lansman ‘turn on Corbyn’ in Brexit strategy ‘betrayal’

Biggest union abandons ‘TULO’ position agreed only 11 days ago to swing behind ‘full remain’ motion Labour leadership thinks would lose general election – while on same day Momentum founder attacks NEC statement supporting Corbyn position


11 days ago, giant union Unison and all other Labour-affiliated unions agreed a position on Brexit that backed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s approach of agreeing a ‘sensible Brexit’ deal with the EU and putting that to a public vote – with a decision on how Labour would campaign in that vote to be made only once the details of the deal are known, which would be after the coming general election.

Just 11 days later Unison is about to abandon that agreed position and put its votes at Labour’s annual conference behind a motion to do the exact opposite – committing Labour to campaign for remain in all circumstances and to fight the general election on that basis. For a union to abandon an agreed ‘TULO’ position is extraordinary.

Such a position would be a gross betrayal of the millions of working-class Labour voters, many of whom will be Unison members, who voted to leave the EU in 2016 – and a disaster in Labour’s majority of leave-voting seats.

On the same morning, Momentum founder Jon Lansman has abandoned any sense of NEC (National Executive Committee) collective responsibility by attacking the ruling body’s agreed statement putting a decision on Labour’s Brexit position to a ‘special conference’ after the general election. If the NEC put its statement formally to conference before the vote on the remain motion, that motion would ‘fall’ and would not go to a delegate vote.

Lansman’s attack took the form of two tweets – amplified with relish by TV journalist Robert Peston:

Lansman has, of course, been heavily criticised for Momentum’s lack of effective democracy. Peston was photographed yesterday chatting cosily with serial Corbyn-underminer Tom Watson in Brighton:

And last night, the SKWAWKBOX obtained a WhatsApp chat in which influential remainers are coordinating their attempt to force the party into a full-remain position – and discussed the Unison switch, although without naming the union.

And at the same time admitting that it will be a disaster among leave voters – and a direct move against Corbyn:

A senior Labour insider told the SKWAWKBOX:

What a start to what should have been a good week. If they get away with pushing us into full remain it will be a catastrophe in our heartlands.

[Unison and Lansman] have turned on Jeremy on the same day and the only way to describe it is as a betrayal.

Unison has been contacted for comment. Jon Lansman told the SKWAWKBOX:

Momentum has recommended support for the NEC statement [backing Corbyn’s preferred position] and opposes the [remain] composite. I have only attacked the process.

However, as Peston has observed, Lansman’s comment that delegates ‘should feel free to vote with their conscience’ will be seen as a green light to ignore Momentum’s recommendation – and Corbyn’s personal wishes – in this afternoon’s crucial vote.

On the insider comment that he had ‘turned on’ Corbyn in a ‘betrayal’, Lansman said only:


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  1. If lab campaign for remain, that’s it, I’m out of it! Someone else can deliver their fecking leaflets!

    1. Yep, me too, marty. Well said ! Apart from the utter betrayal of our 2017 Manifesto promise on Brexit (actually betrayed in practice every single day since the Referendum by the PLP Remain majority’s cynical filibustering of the Brexit process) , there will be no point in campaigning because we will lose so many of our working class heartland Leave seats, and the chance of winning those vital Tory marginal Leaver seats, that a Labour victory will be impossible. The only slight upside (a very, very, slight one, unfortunately) will be watching all those Right Wing Blairite MPs losing their seats, and the Watsonites and Blairites eventually realising that instead of ‘retaking the Party for the neoliberal centrists ‘, they have simply destroyed Labour as an electoral force.

      This betrayal by Unison and Lansman can surely be no surprise. The trades union bureaucracy have betrayal of any Left development in their DNA, ( from long before the 1926 General Strike, onwards) but that self-serving old ex-Bennite, Lansman, bears a high personal historical responsibility for emasculating Momentum via his Coup, and destroying the only possible source of long-term Left mobilisation and political education in the Party.

      Utter electoral and organisational disaster now confronts our Party.

  2. Most union members wish to remain and aren’t neutral, particularly Unison. All the Union leaders should be supporting the Remain position if they wish to represent their members. Unrepresentative block votes should be banned

    30 Aug – 5 Sep 2018 55% Remain 37% Leave GMB members
    30 Aug – 5 Sep 2018 68% Remain 27% Leave UNISON members
    30 Aug – 5 Sep 2018 61 % remain 26% Leave Unite the Union

  3. Who is paying these arseholes to do this?
    Its that same old story
    Money talks and bullshit walks

  4. I’ve always thought Lansman was a plant although, like Watson, who he’s working for apart from himself is not readily apparent. What is sure is that Soros, Malloch-Brown, Peel, various cabals of spooks at Langley, Vauxhall Cross and Cheltenham, in the FCO and MoD plus the board of Goldman Sachs and friends, will be cleaning the champagne glasses in anticipation. I hope the members have the sense to realise what’s going on today because if not, not only is the Labour Party finished, I won’t even bother to piss on its grave.

    1. I don’t think ‘plant’ is the right adjective. He is a cynical political operator now in a position to do his worst for his own ends whatever they may be besides gaining more power.

      I made a short comment below but the delay in displaying comments has kicked in again so I replied to you labrebisgalloise to make a similar point.

  5. Full remain is the only way to go!

    For anyone at the conference, there is an excellent fringe meeting for a Palestinian charity Youth Against Settlements. Miko Peled, Dr Azzam Tamimi and Tom Suarez are the speakers. A film about ‘Palestine the Reality’ by Karl Sabbagh will also be shown.

    The venue is The Old Court Room Brighton at 1pm. It’s during Tom Watson’s speech, who the heck wants to listen to that?

  6. If this 70% of them vote to campaign for remain then that’s democracy in action. Got no problem with it at all.

    But I know where my finger’ll be pointing when the marginals remain blue.

    1. The majority of our member Delegates ARE now most likely going to lumber Labour with a suicidal Remain under any circumstances policy, The Toffee. Which bodes the end not only of our Party’as chance of reversing Tory Austerity , but the end of Labour as a working class-0supported mass Party of the reformist Left.

      All because the majority of our overwhelming middle class , Left Liberal, not socialist, activist membership are too arrogant to research what the EU is all about, have no empathy with the poorer working class who are being crushed every day by the impact of unlimited labour supply, and value their easy access to the European mainland as a tourist destination , over enabling a Left UK government to pursue a genuine Left policy agenda unfettered by the neoliberal Single Market rules.

  7. I don’t believe for one minute Lansman supports Corbyn. He is just using Corbyn’s popularity in the membership for his own ends. That’s my take.

  8. Lansman is beside the point in this – but it’s noticeable that, like Watson, he gets the attention rather than the substance of disagreements within the Party.

    Let’s be honest – the convolutions of the last 24 hours have not been a testament to the management of the Party. which surprises none of us who have watched the fiasco over the antisemitism scam.

    Everything both too precipitate and too late. It’s not difficult to get Fisher’s outburst.

    Anyway – let’s see whether another dish of fudge is served up this afternoon.

    Perhaps the NEC needs to ask guidance from the individual members at large before any Special Conference.

    It’s no good just moaning about the media when the act is a bit of an improvised shit-show.

  9. To win a GE, Labour must appeal not only to its members, but to the UK as a whole. The UK as a whole voted Leave. 9 out of the 12 regions were for Leave. 406 constituencies voted Leave.
    In the 2017 GE, about 80% of the vote share went to parties who promised to respect the Leave vote. How can Labour possibly win a GE if it doesn’t appeal to that 80%?
    To take a Remain position is to display either ignorance of, or contempt for, the majority of voters.

    1. Exactly. The next Lab Govt would be voted in by THE ELECTORATE., and not the labour membership. Or possibly not!

    2. Basic error. Neither regions nor constituencies vote. The distortions of FPTP systems always exaggerates nonsense on stilts.

      Let’s stick to a hard fact : only a minority of the *electorate* wanted ‘Leave’.

      Anyway – let’s just have a referendum to see whether the population is still as susceptible to Tory propaganda – preceded by a poll of Labour members to see what the sensible Party actually wants.

    3. Too true, Catherine Terrie ! And let’s not forget the very recent overwhelming vote for Leave in the EU MEP elections – in which, after only a month of existence, the opportunist shysters of The Brexit Party gained TWENTY NINE MEP seats from the biggest share of the vote , with FOURTEEN in our key labour heartlands covering a multitude of Labour Parliamentary seats !

      That was a real very recent actual electoral poll , at the ballot box all over the UK, not the bogus , tiny sample-based , weaponised polling of supposed ‘trades unionists’ that jrchappell puts up as spurious ‘proof’ that the working class member base of three of our biggest unions are overwhelmingly Remainers !

  10. On this issue and others, this latest betrayal is due to the habit of Jeremy leaving a vacuum, ie neither puting forward his views, nor arguing his position eg as a long established EUsceptic EVEN EUphobic evidenced belief, thus allowing opposite even hostile evidence free NOISE to fill the space, creates and endless supply of sewage from enemies at the side of him and behind him. His conflict averse zen like approach has failed to quell these ongoing assaults on him. Clarity, robustness and assertiveness from him would not only discourage attacks from within & without. It would encourage… inject fire, a sense of vibrant dynamic progress in supportes like myself.
    Jeremy’s “compromise” in this macro situation eg fudging a decision ALREADY expressed by the electorate, even though MPs are elected by one vote, people are sent to prison by one juror, Parties rule with a majority of one, It is THAT crucial, timid, nebulous approach that facilitates this endless supply of dissappointments for us.
    Ever an optomist, I STILL feel things can recover, change for the better, but it requires a fundamental change to free Jeremy of the ideas that if he appeases or says little, the likes of Watson and Coyle and Blair and Campbell etc etc will be reformed. The have ALREADY provided OVERWHELMING evidence that they have courage, determination, OPENLY pursue their purpose of getting rid if Jeremy. That cabal are unreformable, especially with the encouragement with which Jeremy fuels them ie being supine, timid and neglecting evrn sacrificing his core supporters. We can still win the GE. But why win to continue being undermined by Watson and chums? Why rescue Watson but not Williamson?? Why silence his most articulate supporters??? Jeremy can and MUST rid us of the enduring saboteurs. The MSM incl Mirror & Guardian will STILL undermine him. So best please us, his supporters here in the metropolitan areas, AND Labour heartlands. Surely we MUST prioritise them. Best drop the fudges, drop the mumbling media interviews. Speak more audibly. At rallies etc Jeremy is electric➕➕➕ Media interviews do not require that volume but it is VITAL to have similar passion, emotional commitment AND remember he is dpeaking to a wider existing potential support WHO NEVER GO TO RALLIES. They ate likely ALWAYS to vote. Jeremy you need to radiate to them. NOT the MSM. You won the leadership, survived the coups, and increased the membership make Labour the LARGEST PARTY in Europe. You, WE did it DESPITE the media and the vile enemies within. STOP APPEASING THEM. You and we have demonstrated that we do NOT need them for our victories. We do not need the Watsonscoyleseaglesharmansstrawscampbellsblairsalanhohnsonshattersleysowensmithscoopersstreetingsthornburys. They are as ONE with one purose, their dedication to keeping things just as they are to suit their narriw self interest. Jeremy PLEASE if you love appeasement, kindness & gentleness, then I am begging, be kind, gentle and appease us your supporters who are desperate for change. Seize this moment now. No other is guaranteed. Plus it is heartbreaking for supporters to feel this ungoing failure yo try a diffetent approach and recognise you cannot please everyone, especially those who scorn our aims. Ever Hopefull.

  11. Only just found time to read yesterday’s threads. I wholly support the leadership position. How is anybody supposed to believe that a Labour Part in govt. has the ability, the capacity, or even the intention to negotiate a credible Brexit choice, when they have already committed to remain? I’m afraid the behaviour of Thornberry, Starmer, et al continues to feed a developing sense of betrayal.

    Looking at the terms of a deal, one that has tried to address the concerns of both sides of the referendum divide, before deciding on one’s position towards it, seems sensible, politic, not to mention honourable, to me.

    1. Very good comment paulo even though I oppose an EURef 2 I can understand how a party with strong remain camp and leave electorate targets has to come up with a strategy to win.

      ” How is anybody supposed to believe that a Labour Part in govt. has the ability, the capacity, or even the intention to negotiate a credible Brexit choice, when they have already committed to remain? I’m afraid the behaviour of Thornberry, Starmer, et al continues to feed a developing sense of betrayal.”

      I have been trying to make these points but you word it simply and succinctly and that this is where my trust is being eroded.

      Corbyn wont be negotiating Brexit on his lonesome and his team contains two legal professional remain stalwarts who openly support remain and we are told it will be the best deal possible. Yeh, great negotiating tactics to get the real best deal, not.

      1. I have just read this good article by Laura Smith MP and this section struck me after commenting on here about committed remainers making up the negotiating team.

        “The Labour Party might feel it needs a second vote to settle the debate over whether membership of the EU helps or hinders (or even prevents) this vision being realised.

        If this is the case, it is vitally important that Labour’s negotiating team is made up of people who understand the arguments that have long been made by left-wing Eurosceptics.

        Perhaps even more importantly, that team should consist of people who are committed to campaigning to leave the EU in any subsequent public vote.”

      2. ” it is vitally important that Labour’s negotiating team is made up of people who understand the arguments that have long been made by left-wing Eurosceptics.”

        That’s easy – it’s a simple one-liner, already factored in by most Remain supporters.

        ” that team should consist of people who are committed to campaigning to leave the EU in any subsequent public vote.””

        i.e unrepresentative of Labour.

        What nonsense.

    1. Maria no we are not seeing the end of the two party system.The Torys are united in greed,but need to argue about how to funnel the money out to their pals.We might see an end to the revival of socialism in the Labour party if we don’t show a united front behind Corbyn.and that could the end of my dream of a democratic socialist Labour party!

  12. Would not be hard to survey members with a 60% minimum to change policy set out byJC
    Im sick of remainiacs getting away with murder on this
    The overwhelming majority in this countrywant it f8nished with a good deal

    1. “Im sick of remainiacs getting away with murder on this”

      I wouldn’t go quite that far but their goal posts keep moving so they can win the next level of their cynical game. They have the PV they have been clamouring for and now want full remain. Like spoiled children, give em a sweet and they want all the other kids sweets as well. Whatever my personal views the cynicism and selfishness is off the scale. I can only conclude two things either they want rid of Corbyn or they want LP to lose any GE.

      1. Maria
        What would world famous detective ‘No shit sherlock’ make of this particular drive by shooting,
        Methinks twas Mandelson and Bliar in the downstairs bedroom with a drippy candlestick holder
        I will make the point again to snowflake red Tory remainiacs your arses are going to get kicked into touch at every level of democracy in our party, constituencies and the country,

      2. You’ve got to laugh at the biggest right-wing political con for some time being swallowed whole by the Leaver minority – and then watching their self-pitying capacity blaming everybody but the Tories when the cunning plan predictably goes tits up.

        You were warned.

    2. “Im sick of remainiacs”

      You carry on vomiting Doug – it won’t change the weather – or the views of most of the Labour Party and half the population at large.

      1. RH
        Do not put any money on it, you do not have the numbers, the backlash against red Tory snowflake neverenders will be closer to 80/20 than 49/51
        Where will you go when you lose the 2nd referendum

      2. In answer to your catastrophe scenario, I’ll be around pointing out the consequences of adopting a shit idea and making the country a joke at the behest of gullible saps – as the dream crumbles.

      3. Which part of the manifesto do you think is a shit idea and what part of it cannot be implemented with Labour brino
        Once there is reform from within and the causes of brexit no longer exist then campaign to rejoin

      4. Doug, it is sometimes best to ignore and not get drawn in. I’ve fallen for it a few times now and can say it’s not worth the effort on anything to do with Brexit/Remain.

  13. Delegates should support the NEC statement.
    A Labour Full Blooded Remain means electoral suicide.
    Who will save us from the Right Wing Labour and niave Left political imbeciles.
    Labour backing Remain will mean the Corbyn Dream is Over!

    1. “Delegates should support the NEC statement.”

      Why? What’s the point of a conference if they do that????

      “niave Left political imbeciles.” Use ‘Lexiteers’ – it’s more concise.

  14. At Brighton. Tonight’s TWT on Brexit policy promises to be lively. From my ,admittedly limited discussions,unhappiness with Lansman very evident.

  15. Unless the UK remains in the EU-and under the rule of the Four -capitalist -Freedoms socialism returns to the Labour Agenda.
    And that implies hard work, sacrifice and equality-the last things that people like Lansman or Mendelson or Watson, all of whom are enjoying life enormously in this most unequal of societies, want.
    They pay various degrees of lip service to Corbyn but they are even more afraid of socialism than the ruling class are. They are all creatures of the political system, making their fortunes by pretending to represent the interests of the people, while consigning them to immiseration and alienation- a long journey to the bottom and competition with the cheapest available labour.

  16. I’m a member and Remainer however we need that Final Say referendum and GE. Rather than infighting the party needs to unite and work towards that Vote of No Confidence that will topple Fuehrer BlowJob. We don’t have very much time given Der Fuehrer has suspended Parliament.

  17. Whilst the delegates are in a state of high excitement, the choice between Composite 13 and Composite 14 is actually entirely irrelevant to the Party’s electoral prospects.

    Labour has already cut its own throat electorally by backing the second referendum. By that capitulation we inflicted enormous damage on ourselves in our Midlands and Northern Labour heartlands and have no hope in the vast majority of the all-important Tory-held Leave target seats (70 per cent of our target seats voted Leave).

    As it is, both the irrelevant composites are ridiculous. Not saying where we stand on Britain’s EU membership until after the election won’t wash with the electorate. As for the notion that the Party should back Remain regardless of the deal which the Labour government secures, what on earth would be the point of going to the trouble of negotiations if the product of such negotiations is to be opposed regardless of its content?

    Above all however these two composites are completely irrelevant. Labour has already gifted the next election to the Tories by supporting the second referendum.

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