The head of the UK's Unite Union and leading supporter of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has launched a scathing attack on rebellious party MPs, in an article for the New Statesman Magazine, who he accuses of trying to ''toxify'' the party by using the issue of anti-Semitism to undermine the leader.
In statements reported by the British press, he said that, ''Corbyn-hater MPs'' of appearing to, ''wake up each morning thinking only: 'How can I undermine Jeremy Corbyn today?'" He also warned that Labour MPs who persisted in their perceived efforts to destabilise the party leadership could, ''expect to be held to account,'' for their actions, suggesting that deselection as candidates could be a potential punishment for disloyalty.
McCluskey's ultimatum has already caused open splits among the top level of the Labour Party, with Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer, declaring on BBC Radio 4 that he did not agree with Mr. McCluskey's position.
Sir Keir Starmer: "I disagree with Len McCluskey. It's obvious we have a problem with anti-Semitism." #r4today— Kevin Schofield (@PolhomeEditor) April 26, 2018
Absolutely staggering. In this of all weeks, Len McCluskey attacks Labour MPs who have spoken out against anti-Semitism and threatens them with deselection. https://t.co/Cwoxgs99Ji— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) April 25, 2018
Why would Len McCluskey, as an extremely close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, claim that anti-Semitism is being used to “undermine” the leader a day after Corbyn himself said it wasn’t a smear?— Kevin Schofield (@PolhomeEditor) April 25, 2018
The issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, which both Mr. McCluskey and Corbyn have acknowledged as real and condemned, was ignited by the Opposition leader's comments in relation to a controversial mural painted in 2012 deemed by some to be anti-Semitic. Controversy over the party suspension of former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, for claiming that Nazi Germany had fostered Jewish immigration to Mandate Palestine in the 1930s, has also been a continuing source of tension between the different factions of the party.