Britain’s biggest union endorses Labour’s only left-wing candidate
JEREMY CORBYN received a huge push towards Labour leadership yesterday after Britain’s biggest union Unite formally announced its endorsement of the people’s favourite.
Members of the executive council stated that it was supporting the veteran leftwinger in the upcoming national vote, as his anti-austerity policies are closest to those of its members’ views on the devastating effects of Tory spending cuts.
The news was met with disbelief from social media naysayers who had laughed off the suggestion that the Islington North MP could even make the final cut last month — before he proved them wrong by receiving 35 MP nominations with minutes to spare.
He said: “The leadership election is about one issue above others: whether we accept another five years of a race to the bottom based on cuts that destroy services and damage living standards or whether we invest our way to growth and fairness.”
Mr Corbyn said that he felt it was a “great honour” to receive the backing of Unite and that it was a sign that his campaign had “growing momentum” after it was applauded by up to 250,000 people at the People’s Assembly End Austerity Now rally last month.
He added: “Trade union members are the men and women whose money worries and anxiety for the prospects of their children are now the everyday reality of these Tory austerity years.
“The whole of trade union history has been based on protecting people from austerity. Without trade unions there would be no Equal Pay Act, no minimum wage, no Labour Party.
“Trade unions are a force for good, a force for prosperity and we should listen to them more.”He also thanked train drivers’ union Aslef and bakers’ union BFAWU for nominating him as well as endorsements from firefighters’ union FBU and transport union RMT.
The former trade union official has campaigned for years with the peace movement, including the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Stop the War coalition.
Mr Corbyn is a popular option with many people because of his opposition to the illegal war in Iraq, his continuous call for the scrapping of Trident — expected to cost around £100 billion over its lifetime — and remains a strong fighter on behalf of Palestinians caught in bloodshed and displacement.
Mr Corbyn is also heralded as a refreshing change from candidates such as Andy Burnham, who is Unite’s second preference, and the so-called “Red Tory” Liz Kendall.
Some Conservative Party supporters have even launched a “Tories for Corbyn” online campaign, in a stunt to imply that paying £3 to register as a Labour supporter to get him into leadership would be a definite electoral gift for winning the next election.
But Mr Corbyn said: “If people do not support the Labour Party and do not wish to vote Labour, either in future elections or have done so in the past, they should not be registering as Labour supporters, it’s not an honest thing to do.”