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    The leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, speaks at the Scottish Labour Party Spring Conference in Perth, Scotland February 26, 2017.

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

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    The British Labour Party - already deeply divided over the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn - is facing further turmoil after it emerged the pro-Corbyn splinter group Momentum is set to win the backing of the UK's biggest union, in a move which could destroy the party.

    It emerged, March 19, that Jon Lansman, the leader and founder of the grassroots organization Momentum has told his supporters that it is likely to win the backing of Unite — which has 1.3 million members — if its current leader Len McCluskey wins a further term in the upcoming union election, which will then enable it to take control of Labour, moving the party further to the left.

    McCluskey had previously threatened to split from the Labour Party if it did not win the 2015 election, which it did not. 

    There has been deep unrest within Labour following the 2015 election, which Labour lost, paving the way for a leadership contest which was originally expected to be won by a center-left frontrunner. However, because of a change in party rules, making it cheap and easy to join and vote, the rank outsider and left-winger Corbyn won, much to the disapproval of many of the party's MPs.

    However, many grassroots party members, see Corbyn as their natural leader — especially after the MPs forced a second election, which Corby won, increasing his share of the vote and giving him a mandate from all the party membership, further distancing himself from the parliamentary Labour Party, most of whom believe he is unelectable because he is taking the party to the left.

    ​If Lansman's prediction is right, the pro-Corbyn left-wingers could take control of the party, further dividing it — potentially causing a chasm so wide, the party will split.

    "I regard this as a battle for the future existence of the Labour party. This is high stakes, and I hope my fellow members are going to understand that," said Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson on the BBC Today program.

    "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. But it's also important for Labour party members to understand that there will be votes at our conference on this, this year, and they have to intervene as well," he said.

    ​However, one of Lansman's close allies, Christine Shawcroft, who is a member of Labour's national executive committee said his suggestions were "a concerted attempt to interfere in the internal election in Unite for general secretary." Unite issued a statement denying the Lansman claims:

    "There are no plans for Unite to affiliate to Momentum. For the record, Len McCluskey has never met Jon Lansman to discuss this or any other matter. 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.

    There are no plans for Unite to affiliate to Momentum. For the record, Len McCluskey has never met Jon Lansman to discuss this or any other matter.

    “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.

    — See more at: http://www.unitetheunion.org/news/unite-statement-on-tom-watson-mps-claims-on-momentum-and-unite/#sthash.YO2iTmHA.uX3BRcqg.dpuf

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    political activism, socialism, Brexit, political parties, leadership, Momentum, British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, Britain, United Kingdom
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