Margaret Hodge on why she reported Unite union over ‘plot to oust anti-Corbyn MPs’

4 June 2021, 15:07

By Sam Sholli

Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge spoken to LBC about why she has reported the Unite union to the police.

The union, which is the biggest donor to the Labour Party, is alleged by the MP to have "behind people's backs" funded campaigning to de-select Labour MPs when Jeremy Corbyn was its leader.

She has suggested that such payments, if made, could violate rules requiring unions to declare their political spending.

The Times has reported that emails it has seen showed that Unite activists and officials discussed plans to remove “right wingers” including then deputy Labour leader Tom Watson his seat in February and March 2018.

It was also reported that activists told the union's assistant general secretary Howard Beckett that they wanted to be paid for organising against Labour MPs via the solicitors firm Thompsons.

Both Unite and Thompsons have denied that any payments were made to people campaigning against the MPs.

Dame Margaret Hodge told LBC's Shelagh Fogarty: "The way I read those emails, I think there are questions to answer.

She added: "The emails suggest that there was political activity that was being paid for but it was not being openly paid for. [The emails suggest] it was being paid for behind people's backs, and that is...outrageous.

She also said: "It's immoral. Whether it's illegal or not, it's still immoral."

Howard Beckett, who is a frontrunner to replace Unite's general secretary Len McCluskey, has branded Dame Margaret Hodge's police report as being "laughable" and "risible".

READ MORE: Ed Miliband: 'The bacon sandwich didn't lose me the election'
READ MORE: Ed Miliband: 'The argument is over, I've got to embrace Brexit'