Labour war: McCluskey accuses Tom Watson of 'skullduggery, smears and plots'

The Unite General Secretary said Labour's Deputy Leader had been 'sharpening the knife, looking for a back to stab'

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Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey has accused Labour deputy leader Tom Watson of ‘skullduggery, smears and plots’ and of ‘manufacturing division’ where ‘unity is required.

Labour’s Deputy Leader has accused Len McCluskey of plotting with Momentum leader Jon Lansman to use Unite cash to allow Momentum to take over the Labour Party, a charge McCluskey has vehemently denied in a blog for the Huffington Post.

McCluskey is standing for re-election as the head of Unite, the huge Labour-affiliated trade union, and said he has been travelling round the country meeting workers, ‘the sort of people who make me proud to be a trade unionist, and proud to be able to help them in their daily struggles.’

“But there is another world,” he wrote. “But there is another world in our movement, alas. A world of skulduggery, smears and secret plots.

That is where you will find Tom Watson. When Labour has needed loyalty he has been sharpening his knife looking for a back to stab. When unity is required, he manufactures division.”

Mr McCluskey called it ‘small surprise’ that Mr Watson had ‘worked to split the Party again this week.”

He called Watson “a product of the manipulative and authoritarian culture of the old trade union right-wing, for whom power was an end in itself, and all means acceptable to attain it.”

Mr Watson yesterday accused Momentum and Unite of a ‘secret plot’ to take over the Labour Party, and was reported to have been "cheered to the rafters" as he arrived at Monday night’s weekly meeting of Labour MPs in Westminster, a meeting which was described as "explosive".