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Labour At Risk Of Losing Major Party Donor

Unite, Labour’s largest trade union backer, have promised to review their financial support of the Labour Party.

It comes since the Labour Party’s decision to pay out on the claims of anti-Semitism reported by several ex-Labour staffers after they appeared in a BBC Panorama documentary and sued the Party.

“Substantial” pay-outs were agreed last month to the seven staffers who spoke to the BBC in the “Is Labour anti-Semitic?” documentary.

The whistleblowers who appeared in the film claimed that the Labour Party had directly interfered with the handling of anti-Semitism allegations. The then-Labour General Secretary, Jennie Formby, had accusations brought specifically against her over her role in the alleged interference.

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Unite’s General Secretary, Len McCluskey, was a major Corbyn ally and the former husband of Jennie Formby. He told The Observer that Labour should not be “taking Unite’s money for granted.”

Mr McCluskey then criticised the bailout of the former staffers, saying:

“It’s an abuse of members’ money. A lot of it is Unite’s money and I’m already being asked all kinds of questions by my executive.

“It’s as though a huge sign has been put up outside the Labour Party with ‘queue here with your writ and get your payment over there’.”

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He added that there was “no doubt” that the Unite executive would demand a review of Labour’s funding.

Unite gave £401,875 to the party in the first three months of the year, contributing several million pounds over the last few years.

The Labour Party’s statement at the time had accused those making the allegations of attempting to take down the leadership, calling them “disaffected staff” who had “personal and political axes” to grind.

Under the new administration, the party has unreservedly apologised to the staffers. Deputy leader Angela Rayner called the pay-outs a “prudent move” to help in the healing process.