Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Tom Watson: Momentum plot could "destroy the Labour party"

Tom Watson: Momentum plot could

The party's deputy leader, Tom Watson, urged his leader to "deal with" Corbyn-backing Momentum supporters who are plotting to take control of the party by joining forces with the Unite trade union if Len McCluskey wins its general secretaryship.

A MEDIA attempt to embarrass Unite leader Len McCluskey over alleged involvement in a "hard-left plot" by Momentum was dismissed by the union yesterday. I think this is so serious, I think it's vital that ordinary members of Unite are made aware of this plan, that they know what's going on inside their union and they take action to block it. "This is high stakes, and I hope my fellow members are going to understand that - and our leader".

Watson spoke out on Sunday after Jon Lansman, who leads pro-Corbyn movement Momentum, was secretly recorded detailing plans to consolidate the group's power within the party.

"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", Corbyn and Watson said.

He also took aim at Mr Lansman's focus on party control rather than helping Labour win the next General Election.

In the leaked recording, Mr Lansman issues a call to arms to Momentum supporters saying they need to make sure the Left is represented in key positions at all levels in the party.

Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson have agreed to "strengthen" Labour Party unity after "robust and constructive" shadow cabinet talks at Unison's headquarters in London on Monday (20 March).

"Enough is enough, this has got to stop... I'm afraid there are some people who don't have our electoral interests at heart, and we've got to deal with it".

He is also said to have told activists it was "absolutely crucial" that they secured a change to the party's rules to ensure that whenever Mr Corbyn stands down, they are able to get a candidate on to the ballot paper to succeed him.

John McDonnell today told the "i" newspaper it could take two years for Labour to be ready to fight a general election.

Mr McDonnell said: "What he is trying to do is influence the election of the general secretary of Unite and he has dragged the Labour Party into this, completely unnecessarily". "There is a democratic deficit in the Labour Party where the structures we have do not reflect the support for Jeremy Corbyn that has been shown by the mass of the members".

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

Christine Shawcroft, director of Momentum, said they are "moderates" and the political labels used by Mr Watson were "non-sensical". But he clearly wishes to go back to the days of command and control on a Blairite model.

"We've seen over the last few hours a quite shocking attack on the leader by leading lights of organisations like Members First, Progress and so on", she said.

The Labour leader and deputy leader added: "The Shadow Cabinet met today to discuss Labour's policy and election plans and had a robust and constructive discussion about the challenges and opportunities ahead".

"It is not a question of anyone disaffiliating from the Labour Party and affiliating to Momentum instead". "We don't want to be distracted by this... we are facing a potential early General Election". "Was that Jeremy Corbyn's fault?"

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