Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to be re-elected as Labour leader received a boost today as Unite, the largest trade union in the UK, confirmed it would support his campaign.
The position was not voted on by the workers’ body executive committee, due to previous votes to back Corbyn, as well as the issuing of supportive motions at Unite’s policy conference in July.
The union, which is affiliated to Labour, has 1.4 million members. It is the seventh formally affiliated union to back Corbyn, with Aslef, BFAWU, CWU, FBU, UCATT, TSSA all supporting his re-election. Community, USDAW and the Musicians’ Union have backed rival Owen Smith.
Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, has previously said attempts to unseat Corbyn were “a political lynching of a decent man”.
McCluksey has been a longtime ally of Corbyn, and the union backed him in the 2015 contest. Since the MPs’ rebellion after the EU referendum, McCluskey has repeatedly called for the party to rally behind Corbyn’s leadership.
Unite delegates recently voted to support mandatory re-selection of Labour MPs opposed to Corbyn’s leadership, saying they have worked to “destabilise” his position. The union has also lent its space to the Jeremy for Labour campaign, which has operated phonebanks for the Labour leader out of its London headquarters.
Other unions Unison and GMB are due to announce their nominations in the near future after balloting their members on which candidate to support.