Labour threat to expel RMT over Scottish Socialists link

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One of Labour's founding organisations is to be expelled from the party "forthwith" unless it abandons its decision to forge closer links with other political organisations.

At the risk of provoking an historic split in the movement, Labour has warned the RMT rail union that it faces "disaffiliation" for allowing branches north of the border to form links with the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP). A party spokesman said the union had already "chosen to leave the Labour Party".

In response to the warning, the 65,000-strong RMT called yesterday an emergency national meeting in Glasgow in a month's time to decide whether it would defy the ultimatum.

Under the hard-left leadership of Bob Crow, the union has become increasingly critical of the Government and reduced its £180,000 annual donation to the party to just £12,500 a year.

A letter from Chris Lennie, Labour's deputy general secretary, said the decision to approve the affiliation of five of the union's branches to the SSP was a fundamental breach of the rules because the left-wing organisation was opposed to Labour. It amounted to a "repudiation" of party membership.

The union is to consider whether all of its Scottish region should forge links with the SSP.