On Wednesday, the General Secretary of Britain’s largest trade union, Unite, declared war on Labour MPs who have bravely stood up to antisemites in their own Party.
As one of the Labour Party’s largest donors, Unite carries significant sway in the Party. It has shamefully permitted its General Secretary to repeatedly belittle and dismiss allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party, for example calling it “mood music” to “undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership” and claiming that those making allegations of antisemitism have been “playing games”. He has even claimed that media coverage of the allegations is a “right-wing” plot and rallied his supporters to mass-report a Twitter account that exposes antisemites in the Labour Party.
Now, writing in The New Statesman, Mr McCluskey has launched an attack on those Labour MPs who fight antisemitism in the Party, claiming that they oppose Mr Corbyn on every point and merely use antisemitism as a tool.
For example, Mr McCluskey has not only claimed that the Leader of Israel’s Labour Party is “guilty of a cynical and outrageous smear” for severing ties with the British Labour Party over antisemitism, but attacked Labour MPs and the Jewish Labour Movement for not saying that the Israeli Labour Party “had gone too far”.
Mr McCluskey then went further still, writing that those who spoke out against antisemitism at a recent parliamentary debate “made my stomach churn” and threatening them with the prospect of being “held to account”, having hinted at “mandatory reselection” earlier in the article, which would see Labour replace critical MPs with other parliamentary candidates.
Len McCluskey has been rightly attacked by senior Labour Party figures from Ian Austin MP to Sir Keir Starmer MP, despite Dianne Abbott MP refusing to say whether she agreed or disagreed with Mr McCluskey.
The most important response however is that of Mr Corbyn himself. He has rightly said that he disagrees with Mr McCluskey, but that is no longer enough. Mr McCluskey is a repeat offender. Campaign Against Antisemitism has previously called on Mr McCluskey to resign, and Mr Corbyn should be equally firm.