Miliband sanctions slap-down of Labour union donor
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey launched an outspoken attack earlier on a number of shadow cabinet figures, warning the Labour leader he would be “cast into the dustbin of history” if he was “seduced” by Blairite members of his team.
Mr Miliband was elected to Labour’s top job on the back of union votes and receives millions in funding from Unite.
“Len McCluskey does not speak for the Labour Party”, a spokesman for Mr Miliband said. “This attempt to divide the Labour Party is reprehensible. It is the kind of politics that lost Labour many elections in the 1980s. It won’t work. It is wrong. It is disloyal to the party he claims to represent.”
The statement was issued after Mr McCluskey appeared to indicate he wanted several shadow cabinet ministers sacked.
In an interview with the New Statesman magazine, the union leader picked out shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy and the shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne for criticism.
“If he is brave enough to go for something radical, he’ll be the next prime minister,” Mr McCluskey told the magazine. “If he gets seduced by the Jim Murphys and the Douglas Alexanders, then the truth is that he’ll be defeated and he’ll be cast into the dustbin of history.”
Mr Murphy wrote on Twitter last night: “It’s disappointing in advance of important local elections that Len McCluskey turns his fire on Labour.”