James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Former Home Secretary Jack Straw hits out at "cult" takeover of Labour
13 December 2019, 19:31
A former Labour Home Secretary has hit out at the "cult" which surrounds the party's leadership and says supporter Len McCluskey, the powerful trade union leader, should explain his responsibility in this "catastrophe."
Jack Straw told LBC he was concerned how members of the Labour Party were defending the unpopular leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.
The Labour veteran criticised campaign group Momentum and the Unite union boss Len McCluskey for their support of Mr Corbyn.
"The problem is that the party has been taken over, to use Alan Johnson's phrase, by a cult of Jeremy Corbyn and McDonnell.
"Behind all this the figure Len McClusky, the leader of Britain's most powerful trade union. Len Cluskey is normally the first out of traps to appear on the media - you kept hearing him - but I understand from your colleagues in other media organisations that nobody can get hold of him.
"Where's he gone? Why is he not out explaining his responsibility this catastrophe that has befallen the party?"
Unite are the largest donors to the Labour Party and hold significant influence within the organisation - having a say in the party's policy process.
The union added £3million to Labour's funds ahead of the general election and many of its members assisted the party during the campaign - many of them supporters of the leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Commenting on the future of the Labour Party, Mr Straw claimed it "could be 20 years" before the party is elected into government.
He said: "Were we to get a really good leadership - one that was inclusive, where the culture was changed so you ended this abuse, this intolerance, this vile antisemitism that has infected part of the party and got back to tolerant, decent values which informed the party in the past.
"And with a leader who understood the importance of connecting with the British people - whether it's in the South or the North - that's what Tony Blair was able to do."