Uniting behind Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Unite delegates voted in favour of a motion today (July 14) to call on Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) to urge their MPs to support the party’s democratically elected leader.
The motion urged all concerned to re-double their efforts to ensure Jeremy Corbyn is elected next prime minister of the UK.
Unite delegate George Hickman of the West Midlands region put forward the motion, arguing that trade unionists “need someone in government who shares our values.”
And Corbyn’s leadership, he contended, represents a unique opportunity to rally around a party that, for the first time in a long time, explicitly and wholeheartedly supports trade unions and their ideals, as well as a programme of unreserved anti-austerity.
Unite delegate Stewart Dack of the South East supported the motion, highlighting that membership in his CLP has trebled since the last general election.
“Jeremy reflects the views of the Labour party membership,” he said. “Not only does he not condemn strikes he joins picket lines.”
“CLPs need to look at their MPs — does our MP represent the view of our members?” Dack asked conference. “If the answer is no we should do something about it.”
Unite South East delegate Phil Rudd gave voice to those who may have reservations about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and urged conference to reject the motion.
“When someone comes along [like Jeremy] and shares our values it’s understandable that he would be popular in the union movement,” he said.
But he believed some members were not confident the Labour party could win general elections under Corbyn’s leadership.
“This is not an attack on Jeremy Corbyn – it’s simply pragmatism over idealism.”
Unite delegate Darran Brown (pictured) told conference that, although he left the Labour party a long time ago, inspired by Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s speeches at policy conference this week, he would re-join the party from today.
“The Labour party is the only movement for the working class,” he argued. “Why are we here, why do we bother being trade unionists” if, he noted, we don’t support a leader who shares union values?
“Let’s get the anti-trade union act rescinded,” he said. “Let’s back Corbyn all the way.”
The motion was carried by a large majority, confirming Unite’s solid support for a united Labour party under the leadership of its democratically elected leader Jeremy Corbyn.