An apparent plan by the leftwing Momentum organisation to take control of Labour amounts to “a battle for the future existence” of the party, Tom Watson has said, urging Labour members to combat the threat.
The party’s deputy leader said he was unaware of the extent of the plan before hearing comments by Momentum’s founder, Jon Lansman, who was secretly recorded addressing supporters at a meeting of a new branch in London this month.
In the recording, obtained by the Observer, Lansman calls for activists to ensure they are represented in key positions before Jeremy Corbyn steps down as Labour leader, and says Unite could formally affiliate to Momentum if Len McCluskey is re-elected as the union’s leader.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Watson said Lansman had “outlined a hard left plan to control the Labour party after Jeremy’s departure”.
“I regard this as a battle for the future existence of the Labour party. This is high stakes, and I hope my fellow members are going to understand that.”
It was vital for Labour and Unite members who opposed Momentum’s ambition to take action, Watson said.
“That’s why I decided to speak out. I think this is so serious, I think it’s vital that ordinary members of Unite are made aware of this plan, that they know what’s going on inside their union and they take action to block it.
“But it’s also important for Labour party…