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Union Boss of UNITE , McCluskey , angry with Ed Miliband over the FALKIRK row.

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Union Boss of UNITE , McCluskey , angry with Ed Miliband over the FALKIRK row.

Post  Panda on Fri 5 Jul - 16:57

Falkirk Row: Union Boss Hits Back At LabourThe boss of Unite accuses Labour of being "absolutely amateurishly" over the Falkirk row, as Ed Miliband calls in the police.4:15pm UK, Friday 05 July 2013 Video: McCluskey's Anger Over Falkirk Row
Enlarge EmailUnite boss Len McCluskey says the Labour leadership is caught in "anti-union Tory hysteria" over the Falkirk candidate selection row.

Labour is handing its investigation into alleged irregularities over the selection of an election candidate in Falkirk to the police, a senior party source told Sky.

It is claimed Unite crammed the Scottish constituency with 100 or more members whose subscriptions were paid by the union, some of them without their knowledge.

Facing potentially the biggest crisis of his Labour leadership, Ed Miliband earlier told Mr McCluskey to face up to "malpractice" and insisted the union - Labour's biggest donor - should not be defending the "machine politics".

But Mr McCluskey hit back, saying: "It seems to me that the Labour leadership is now being caught up in anti-union Tory hysteria.

"I would urge the Labour leadership to stop responding to the Tory agenda.

Tom Watson has resigned
"We believe [Labour] have handled it absolutely amateurishly and they have played into the Prime Minister's and the Coalition's hands.

"They must be rubbing their hands at this."

Mr McCluskey accused the Labour leadership of deliberately picking a fight in an echo of Tony Blair's "Clause IV moment" when he got rid of Labour's historic commitment to collective ownership.

"It's depressing that Labour leaders seem to want to have a Clause IV moment, they've got to have a situation where they front up union leaders," he said.

"Well Ed [Miliband] doesn't need to front up me, I'm his friend, I support him."

He is calling for an independent inquiry into the allegations.

"We have no confidence in the so-called investigation that has been carried out by Labour Party HQ," he said.

"If an independent report indicates that Unite have done something wrong then I'll be the first to put my hand up and accept responsibility for it and do something about it.

"But at the moment we're caught up in a media storm caused by Labour's inability to deal with this situation.

"They've shot themselves in the foot."

Karie Murphy was Unite's favoured candidate for Falkirk

The seething dispute has seen Tom Watson - who has close links with Unite - stepp down as Labour's deputy chairman and left the shadow cabinet.

Mr Watson said that he was quitting to safeguard "the unity of the party".

Mr Miliband also announced he was suspending two members of the Falkirk party - constituency chairman Stephen Deans and Karie Murphy, Mr Watson's office manager who was Unite's favoured candidate for the seat.

Speaking at a charity event in London earlier, Mr Miliband said: "The Labour Party I lead will select its candidates in a fair and transparent way.

"We will act without fear or favour. Instead of defending what happened in Falkirk, Len McCluskey should be facing up to his responsibilities.

"He should not be defending the machine politics involving bad practice and malpractice that went on there, he should be facing up to it.

"We had members being signed up without their knowledge, bad practice, malpractice and, frankly, instead of defending that kind of thing, Len McCluskey should be condemning it."

Conservative Paty chairman Grant Shapps has written to Mr Miliband demanding the publication of Labour's internal report on events in Falkirk.

Mr Shapps also asked Mr Miliband whether he would suspend candidates in 40 other seats named in a leaked Unite document as enjoying support from the union in selection contests.

Labour insists it has no evidence of membership irregularities in any constituencies outside Falkirk.
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