Trade union leaders react to Labour split

Seven MPs have quit the Labour Party and formed “The Independent Group”. Here’s our round-up of reactions from trade union leaders, to be updated regularly…

Dave Prentis, Unison:

“This is terrible news and the last thing public service employees across the UK will want to hear. Working people need a Labour government but split parties don’t win elections. Labour’s overriding concern must be to look long at hard at the reasons why the MPs feel they are no longer able to stay in the party.

“The party must get its act together over Brexit and ensure the country is spared the calamity of a no deal. Crashing out of Europe would be disastrous for public services and ordinary people across the country, and it must be stopped.”

Tim Roache, GMB:

“It’s hugely disappointing that a handful of MPs chose to attack policies that would change the lives of millions of people as they exit stage right. A new party for tinkering around the edges is categorically not what people in the UK need.

“Of course anti-semitism must be tackled, GMB Union has been very clear on that, but it’s obvious from the contributions made today that for those leaving it’s about far more than that – they fundamentally disagree with policies that GMB Union believes would change lives.

“I gritted my teeth through the Blair era, when I disagreed with the Labour government on a host of issues. But I stayed in the party because Labour in power is always better than the alternative. It would be unforgivable now for those who have resigned to stand against good Labour candidates, risking a Tory government.

Dave Ward, CWU:

“This is the worst press conference I have ever watched. It’s everything that voters have turned away from. No policies, no ideas and no direction. Shut the door on the way out.”

Len McCluskey, Unite:

There’s a strong whiff of hypocrisy here. They stood as Labour MPs on a platform in the general election… All of them got massive increases in their majorities. I have to tell them it wasn’t because of their personal charisma.”

“The issue about antisemitism, I just think is grossly unfair. You’ve got a new general secretary who has done more in the few months that she’s been in office than previous administrations… I think the whole thing is contrived.”

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