Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey has sent an email to the union’s members who have signed up to vote in the Labour leadership contest, clarifying that they have endorsed Jeremy Corbyn in the race. The move comes after an email from the Andy Burnham campaign caused confusion among members.
The Burnham team sent out an email yesterday from Joyce Still and Steve Hibbert, members of Unite’s Executive Committee, urging people to “use your vote to back Andy”. The email, which came from a “email@example.com” address, described Burnham as “the only candidate who offers a radical vision with economic credibility at its heart”.
The section that appears to have caused most confusion is the following:
“That’s why, as members of Unite’s Executive Committee, we are writing to urge you to back Andy in this Leadership Election.”
Unite’s formal position is to support Jeremy Corbyn in the race, while recommending second preferences are given to Andy Burnham. One Unite member signed up for a vote as an affiliated member, received this text message yesterday afternoon – before the Burnham campaign email had been sent out:
unite support corbyn
Today, Unite have responded with an email addressed from Len McCluskey with the subject line “Don’t be misled – VOTE CORBYN”. Sent out this afternoon, it appears to be a clear rebuke to the Burnham email:
Statements circulated by the campaigns of Labour leadership contenders may create confusion about Unite’s position. The decision of the Unite Executive Council is absolutely clear – we support Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader and urge all eligible Unite members to vote for him. His progressive policies for equality and social justice are what the Party and the country needs.
This was also followed up a text from the trade union, which can be seen below: