UK Labour Party in 'Battle for the Future' as Factions Split Party

Cheryl Sanders
March 20, 2017

"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", said Unite's acting general secretary Gail Cartmail.

Jon Lansman was said to have told supporters he expected the union, together with the Communication Workers Union (CWU), to affiliate to Momentum if Len McCluskey wins his battle for re-election as Unite general secretary.

Such infighting shows how the party is nowhere near to reconciling the divides that festered in the party during last year's leadership election - and the latest polling from YouGov, conducted at the start of this month, confirms just this. On the fourth and final day of the annual Labour Party Conference, delegates will debate and vote on an emergency motion detailing strict conditions for the support of military action in Syria, as well as attending talks on healthcare and education from Labour politicians. I consider Jeremy Corbyn to be a moderate socialist. "This is high stakes, and I hope my fellow members are going to understand that - and our leader".

Jon Lansman, the founder of the grassroots organisation that supports Jeremy Corbyn as leader, was secretly recorded addressing supporters at a meeting in Richmond, south London, earlier in the month.

In the recording, Mr Lansman says the left needs to organise better to ensure it can influence candidate selections and get a candidate on the ballot paper if Labour's leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves the job - a position Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson said amounted to "entryism".

"We can not have powerful people like Lansman saying secret plans to control the Labour party may be disrupted by a general election".

'Over the next 18 months, 24 months, I think it will turn and we will be ready for the general election at that stage, ' Mr McDonnell told the i newspaper.

However, speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Watson said the plot could destroy the Labour party. Enough is enough. This has got to stop.

He added: "I'm afraid there are some people who do not have our electoral interests at their heart, and that's why I'm speaking out now".

Christine Shawcroft, a member of Labour's national executive committee and an ally of Lansman, said the recorded comments were "a non-story", and were primarily "a concerted attempt to interfere in the internal election in Unite for general secretary".

Through the deal, Momentum, founded four weeks after Corbyn's successful campaign for the Labour Party leadership, would hope to secure the long-term direction of the party.

She indicated that Watson and his allies were a bigger problem for the party.

Responding to initial attacks from Mr Watson, Mr Lansman said: 'For 20 years the left was denied a voice. But he clearly wishes to go back to the days of command and control on a Blairite model.

"It recognised the right of groups across the spectrum of Labour's broad church to discuss their views and try to influence the party so long as they operate within the rules". "Was that Jeremy Corbyn's fault?"

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