Andy McSmith's Diary: Len McCluskey urges loyalty to Corbyn – but forgets Trident

'My clear message to the plotters is – stop the sniping, stop the scheming, get behind Jeremy Corbyn and start taking the fight to the Tories'

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Len McCluskey, general secretary of the UK’s biggest union, delivered a passionate call for loyalty to Jeremy Corbyn. That Corbyn set a record for the number of times he rebelled against previous party leaders is no excuse for other Labour MPs to rebel against him, the Unite leader told students during a debate in the Oxford Union.

“Who can seriously argue that his votes in Parliament against the Iraq war, identity cards or university tuition fees now diminish his ability to lead the Labour Party today?” he demanded. “On all these issues he was not only right, I believe; he was giving voice to the views of most Labour supporters.”

He also scoffed at the way MPs who voted in favour of bombing Isis in Syria or for spending cuts are called “moderate” while “it’s ‘extreme’ to vote for peace or for an end to eye-watering austerity”. 

“My clear message to the plotters is – stop the sniping, stop the scheming, get behind Jeremy Corbyn and start taking the fight to the Tories,” he declared.

An interesting omission from his scripted remarks was any mention of Trident, the issue over which Corbyn and his shadow Defence Secretary Emily Thornberry are currently getting a mauling. Unite’s rival union, the GMB, is even calling a special conference of members whose jobs depend on renewing Trident. Unite also has members in the defence industries. Let us hope they all put aside selfish concerns about their jobs and the welfare of their families and get behind Jeremy Corbyn.

Insider dealing? 

A snippet from the “Blair Years” course at King’s College, London, co-taught by The Independent on Sunday’s John Rentoul. Charles Clarke has revealed that he tipped the former Cabinet Secretary Richard Wilson that putting money on the Conservatives to win an outright majority in 2015 at 8-1 would be a good bet. They shared champagne paid for from the winnings. 

Is it in order for a former Labour cabinet minister to profit from Labour’s defeat, I wonder?

SNP members are revolting 

When the Coatbridge association of the SNP met last month, nine members, including a councillor, Julie McAnulty, walked out in protest after a local businessman Dr Imtiaz Majid was elected to the post of convenor. McAnulty then reportedly demanded that the seating arrangements in North Lanarkshire council chamber be rearranged so that she did not have to sit next to Dr Majid. 

Now the Daily Record reveals that an SNP member of 40 years’ standing, Sheena McCulloch, has complained in writing that McAnulty had told her that “Pakis” were causing trouble in the party and “we needed to get rid of them”. 

McAnulty, whose party membership has been suspended, works in the constituency office of Coatbridge’s MP, Phil Boswell, who is subject to a parliamentary investigation into an alleged failure to register his financial interests. The SNP attracts some nice people.

Labour’s champion tosser

Pancake Day was marked, as usual, by a ferociously competitive pancake race between the Commons, the Lords, and journalists, won by the MPs. 

The long-serving Labour MP Stephen Pound was their captain, but not their star performer. 

The athletic Clive Lewis, a newly elected Corbynite whom some see as a future Labour leader, was the best tosser.