Len McCluskey confirms he has left his role at Unite
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has confirmed he has left his role with trade union ahead of his planned departure date next Spring.
In an email sent to Unite colleagues on Wednesday, McCluskey wrote:”As I leave my role in the Union, I wanted to send you all a message of thanks for all your support….
“Ten years is a long time in any high profile job and I’m a great believer in change.”
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In September, after new Unite general secretary Sharon Graham was elected, McCluskey had told Sky News presenter Joe Pike he “hadn’t left” the trade union and would not be leaving “until April next year.”
Earlier this week Graham confirmed the union has commissioned an independent QC-led inquiry into a £100million hotel and conference centre in Birmingham built on the orders of McCluskey.
New leader Graham revealed the complex was now worth less than the cost of building it.
In his farewell message to colleagues the Union chief – who repeatedly defended Jeremy Corbyn over antisemitism claims when he was leader of the Labour Party – added:”When I became General Secretary, the Union had a serious and worrying financial deficit and I am pleased we are now financially healthy as well as the strongest union in our movement.
“There are many people who have assisted me in achieving this remarkable turnaround, none more so than Unite’s Executive Council members who supported the changes needed in difficult times, as well as my friend Ed Sabisky who was a financial genius and who we sadly lost in February 2021.
“I was humbled by the reception I received when I made my farewell speech at our Policy Conference in Liverpool in October. ”
McCluskey claimed that under his leadership Unite’s members had “together, changed and achieved so many things (hopefully for the better) but someone new brings a different perspective, new ideas that can, hopefully, build on (or change) the things that have gone before.”
During his time as general secretary McCluskey branded payouts by Labour to antisemitism whistleblowers who spoke to BBC Panorama about the issue a “huge miscalculation.”
He earlier said claims of antisemitism in Labour under Corbyn as “out of hand”, and caused anger branding allegations of Jew-hatred as “mood music” to criticise Corbyn.
McCluskey claimed Corbyn “is a man who’s fought against antisemitism and racism all his life” and that it was “offensive” to say the Labour party had become toxic for Jews.
More recently he apologised for comments about Lord Mandelson after telling the Labour peer to go “count his gold.”
The contract to construct the four-star complex in Birmingham was awarded to a building firm owned by Paul Flanagan, a friend of McCluskey’s and fellow Liverpudlian.
But costs, funded by Unite’s 1.4 million members, spiralled from £35million to £57million before construction even started. The seven-storey building eventually cost £98million to complete.