Unite warns Labour on antisemitism payouts
Labour’s biggest union backer will review its political donations in light of Keir Starmer’s decision to pay damages to ex-staffers who claimed the party had not dealt with antisemitism, its general secretary has warned.
In an interview with the Observer, Unite leader Len McCluskey said there was “no doubt” the union’s ruling executive would be demanding a review of the millions it donates to the Labour party in the wake of the six-figure settlements.
“It’s an abuse of members’ money,” he said. “A lot of it is Unite’s money and I’m already being asked all kinds of questions by my executive. It’s as though a huge sign has been put up outside the Labour party with ‘queue here with your writ and get your payment over there’.
McCluskey’s robust intervention will intensify the infighting prompted by the party’s decision to apologise and pay damages to seven staff who turned whistleblower for a BBC Panorama documentary on antisemitism. The party accused them of acting in bad faith, but settled as part of an attempt to draw a line under the antisemitism row. Former leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned the payouts.
Any loss of financial support from Unite would pose a major problem for Labour. While its large membership provides some income, the union remains its biggest donor by far. It has given the central party more than £7m since the start of 2019, according to Electoral Commission records.
In a wide-ranging interview, McCluskey put Starmer on notice that ...
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