UNITE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGER DISMISSES 'GET CORBYN' CAMPAIGN CLAIMS
Unite leadership challenger Gerard Coyne has dismissed claims his campaign is being orchestrated by Labour MPs attempting to oust Jeremy Corbyn.
He said Unite general secretary Len McCluskey had "lost the plot" and claimed his rival was driven by the politics of the hard-left.
The battle for control of the union, Labour's biggest financial backer, has become increasingly bitter, with Mr McCluskey accusing his challenger of being a "puppet" controlled by politicians hostile to Mr Corbyn.
Mr Coyne wrote in this newspaper last week told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Len is seeing plots all over the place and actually it is only him that has lost the plot in this election.
"He is rattled, he can see it slipping away from him, and he is lashing out with allegations about involvement in this campaign."
He said the union should be "about focusing on its members, on their pay, on their pensions, on their working conditions and protecting them in a very insecure job market".
"That's what a trade union election should be about, not the extreme politics of the left."
Mr Coyne, who did not vote for Mr Corbyn in the Labour leadership election, said: "I would prefer the Labour Party to be able to form the next government.
"That's what I want to see, what our members want to see, because I think they do better under a Labour government.
"It's not necessarily about who I support, it's about being able to form the next government."
Mr McCluskey used an interview in the Observer to call for an investigation into a "cabal" of Labour MPs he claimed are using the union's leadership election to fight a "proxy war" against Mr Corbyn.
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson is one of a group that that is trying to "abuse Unite's democracy", the general secretary claimed.
Mr McCluskey said West Midlands MPs were behind Mr Coyne, who he denounced as a "puppet" and accused him of running "a shameful campaign full of lies, innuendoes and smears".