REVEALED: Labour puppet master ‘Red’ Len McCluskey once plotted to paralyse the UK with a general strike which would have crippled country’s food, power and transport networks – and he is now set to BOAST about it in his memoir
Len McCluskey secretly plotted to bring Britain to its knees with a general strike disrupting the supply of food and power.
Today the Daily Mail can reveal the extraordinary blueprint for the illegal action drawn up by the Unite general secretary.
The union baron, nicknamed ‘Red Len’, developed plans to shut down the country’s transport system in the event of the Government bringing in more restrictive trade union laws.
Today the Daily Mail can reveal the extraordinary blueprint for the illegal action drawn up by the Unite general secretary
Mr McCluskey, who will step down this coming week after a decade leading Unite, will disclose plans for the radical action in a bombshell memoir to be published next month
Hundreds of lorries would be sent to key locations to block the motorway network and roads into London.
Mr McCluskey believed the coordinated walkouts across every industry would cause ‘considerable disruption’ to the public as Unite is the leading trade union in critical sectors including energy, food and utilities.
With its 1.5million-strong membership, he pledged ‘to make the cost of our destruction unbearable’. He intended to heighten the chaos by encouraging anarchists to take to the streets.
Mr McCluskey, who will step down this coming week after a decade leading Unite, will disclose plans for the radical action in a bombshell memoir to be published next month.
The revelations include:
- Explosive claims that Sir Keir Starmer reneged on a deal brokered behind closed doors for Jeremy Corbyn to be reinstated as a Labour MP.
- The establishment of a new organisation bringing together trade unions, hard-Left MPs and grassroots groups to coordinate socialist efforts, which Mr McCluskey admits will be seen as an ‘anti-Starmer’ movement.
- Secret talks were held by Mr McCluskey and Theresa May’s business sec
retary Greg Clark as she tried to get her Brexit deal through the Commons.
Under trade union laws, a general strike would be illegal as workers are banned from taking part in walkouts unless a dispute involves their own employer.
But in his book, Always Red, Mr McCluskey will reveal that he had prepared a ‘blueprint to bring the country to a halt’ through such an action.
The Unite general secretary said he was ready to activate the plan if the union was taken to court over strike action and ordered to pay substantial damages that would put its ‘existence under threat’.
If the union’s funds and buildings were seized after it refused to pay what it owed ‘we would see that as an attempt to shut us down and therefore we would resist using every means at our disposal’.
Mr McCluskey planned to move to TUC headquarters where he would form a ‘war cabinet’ and ‘work to a blueprint detailing what to hit’.
‘First, we would block vital transport arteries. Unite’s road haulage branch would put at least 200 lorries at key locations to block the motorway network and roads into London,’ he wrote.
Mr McCluskey said ‘restrictive trade union laws would no longer inhibit us, as we would have nothing left to lose’ and he would tell workers in other unions not to cross picket lines formed outside railway and tube stations.
Mr McCluskey said the blueprint was ‘developed because of a genuine belief it could be necessary’
Boasting about how Unite has a stranglehold on seven of the nine critical infrastructure sectors of the economy such as energy, food and utilities, he added: ‘Of course, one-and-a-half million Unite members would not come out on strike, but I know workers in key sectors and certain companies would defend their union.
‘Quickly, employers all over the country would be wailing about their losses. The disruption to the public would be considerable.’
He suggested protests would be used to ‘hit vital national targets as well as the company we were in dispute with’.
‘We would mobilise on the streets with demonstrations organised by [unemployed workers]… anyone and everyone would be welcome to join us – anarchists, ultra-Leftists, the lot’. The union would also attempt to get workers across the world to join in the action.
‘If the dispute was with British Airways, for example, I know from discussions I’ve had that in various countries around the world planes would land and stay landed, with workers refusing to service them,’ he wrote.
He continued: ‘We would not go gently into the night. We would make the cost of our destruction unbearable.’
Mr McCluskey said the blueprint was ‘developed because of a genuine belief it could be necessary’.
The 71-year-old, who has been Unite general secretary since 2010, will retire next week, with his successor announced on Thursday.
He will also use his memoir to finally confirm he is in a relationship with Mr Corbyn’s former chief-of-staff Karie Murphy.
Last raw of the dinosaur
Few men have held greater sway over the Labour Party in the past decade than the combative trades union boss Len McCluskey.
A 71-year-old Liverpudlian, he became General Secretary of Unite in 2011 and promptly began using the union’s financial muscle to gain extraordinary influence over the party’s then leader Ed Miliband.
The union, which is Britain’s second largest, funnelled almost £20 million to his administration and, at one point, was contributing 28 per cent of the party’s entire income from donations.
After Miliband had gone, McCluskey financed his old chum Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign to the tune of more than £110,000, playing a crucial role in securing his unexpected victory. He then handed Labour a further £11m from Unite over the ensuing three years via regular donations, and a £3 m lump sum before the 2019 election.
For most of that period, Corbyn’s and McCluskey’s links were more than simply financial: the Labour leader’s inner circle was also packed with ‘Red Len’s’ Left-leaning chums and associates.
A former girlfriend and Unite staffer named Jennie Formby — with whom the married McCluskey fathered a child in the 1990s — became Labour’s General Secretary.
His chief-of-staff Andrew Murray, once a card-carrying Communist, was released from Unite duties to become Corbyn’s top advisor.
And Karie Murphy, a flame-haired former nurse with whom McCluskey was secretly sleeping, was made Corbyn’s all-powerful chief-of-staff.
After their Trotskyite stewardship led to Labour’s utter annihilation at the 2019 election — the party’s worst result since 1935 — McCluskey chose to keep the cash flowing to Labour, seemingly in an attempt to influence the current leader Keir Starmer and prevent him from following a more centrist agenda.
Eight donations, worth £1.1 m, were handed over late last year, along with a coded warning that the Leader of the Opposition must ‘represent ordinary working people’ if he wanted support to continue.
It brought the grand total Unite handed to Labour under McCluskey’s reign to an extraordinary £46.7 m, according to Electoral Commission records which identify no fewer than 655 separate transactions since he took office.
He is not just the Labour Party’s biggest paymaster of recent times, but the biggest single bankroller of any major party in the entire history of British politics.
All of which represents quite an achievement. Indeed, in a world where the wheels of politics are greased by cold, hard cash, one might go so far as to describe the self-styled champion of the working man — who is due to step down early next year — as the real power behind Labour’s throne.
Certainly, for much of his reign, he has been regarded as the Party’s unofficial Kingmaker.
Yet in the event the money doesn’t buy him what he wants, Labour’s paymaster McCluskey turns out to have a shocking plan B.
For throughout the decade that he’s been pulling strings in Westminster, I can reveal that Unite’s leader has also been quietly formulating a chilling — and illegal —– plot for his Union to implement its hard-Left agenda, irrespective of who’s been voted into Downing Street. The secret plan is to effectively cripple Britain via a 1920s-style general strike — and the manner of its implementation is expected to be outlined in forensic detail in his forthcoming autobiography, Always Red.
In the book, due out next month, McCluskey admits that Unite under his stewardship has developed a ‘blueprint that would bring the country to a halt’ via wildcat industrial action.
He boasts that, in a few short days, it would cripple ‘seven of the nine critical infrastructure sections of the economy — things like energy, food and utilities’.
McCluskey’s scheme, which he admits would empower ‘anarchists, ultra-Leftists, the lot’ and inflict ‘unbearable’ costs on British industry, would not only subvert Parliamentary democracy but also seek to undermine the entire British justice system via civil disobedience.
Indeed, it’s only a slight exaggeration to say that a copy of his proposal (obtained by the Mail this week) reads at times like the screenplay of a Bolshevik propaganda movie.
The plan is considered so sensitive it was intended to be kept under wraps until McCluskey’s memoir is published.
Under McCluskey’s stewardship, Unite has occasionally sailed close to the wind with regard to what he describes as these ‘restrictive’ laws
In the book, the Unite leader criticises the way that, under reforms dating back to the Thatcher-era, today’s trades union barons are bound by strict laws governing strike action.
The rules ban them from, among other things, ordering a walkout without first balloting members to ensure that a majority of workers actually support industrial action.
UK law also bans so-called ‘secondary’ strike action, in which employees of one company walk out in support of colleagues who are employed by a completely different firm.
Such actions led to the so-called Winter of Discontent in 1978, when industrial action by Ford workers snowballed into shutdowns across the public and private sectors, resulting in a million people being laid off, while rubbish piled high in the street, and overflowing morgues forced the authorities to store bodies in warehouses.
Under McCluskey’s stewardship, Unite has occasionally sailed close to the wind with regard to what he describes as these ‘restrictive’ laws.
He reveals in his memoir that the union has therefore developed detailed plans for a ‘scenario’ in which the laws are broken and ‘a court order[s] Unite to pay substantial damages’ to a company it has crippled via illegal strike action.
The response to such a judicial ruling, he writes, could be to simply ‘refuse to pay’ and ignore any court order. Instead, Unite would instruct a hard core of supporters to do everything in their power to disrupt the daily lives of Britons.
‘If we are pushed outside the law,’ he says, ‘the moral argument will be with us and the consequences of our actions and any ensuing chaos will be the responsibility of the government’.
The first step would be for Unite to vacate all its offices, with many of its leaders going into hiding.
‘The authorities would move to sequestrate our funds and buildings. We would see that as an attempt to shut us down and therefore we would resist, using every means at our disposal,’ he writes.
‘I would move to TUC headquarters where we would form a war cabinet and work to a blueprint detailing what to hit.’
Within a few hours, members of Unite’s road haulage branch would leap into action by parking 200-odd lorries at ‘key locations to block the motorway network and roads into London’. McCluskey also plans to create overnight picket lines outside major rail and tube stations ‘and trust the rail unions, who are great comrades, not to cross them’.
In other words, within 24 hours, Britain’s transport network would be crippled. Having ‘nothing left to lose’, he would then call on members who work in ‘critical infrastructure’ to close a range of other key industries.
‘Quickly, employers all over the country would be wailing about their losses. The disruption to the public would be considerable.’ Over ensuing days and weeks, Unite would create a ‘crisis leverage’ committee to oversee plans to stage a nationwide series of protests designed to cause maximum disruption to Britons’ daily lives.
Supporters would begin ‘hitting vital national targets as well as the company we were in dispute with . . . Anyone and everyone would be welcome to join us — anarchists, ultra-Leftists, the lot.’
In the next stage, comrades from overseas would be invited to picket the offices of British multi-nationals, he adds, with the intention of causing them severe financial hardship.
For example, Unite would get ‘sister unions’ to ground British Airways planes in every corner of the globe by ‘refusing to service them’, meaning they ‘would land and stay landed’.
‘We would not go gently into the night,’ McCluskey promises.
‘We would make the cost of our destruction unbearable . . . If all of that sounds romantic, gallant and unrealistic, the blueprint I’ve described was developed because of a genuine belief it could be necessary.’
McCluskey would, in other words, be leading a revolution — using civil disobedience to undermine both an elected parliament and the rule of law.
What is perhaps most striking about Unite’s secret plan is the way it allows a relatively tiny proportion of the British population to subvert the will of the majority by bringing the country to a halt.
Indeed, in his memoir, McCluskey is expected to admit that his radical idea can succeed even if they don’t command the support of a majority of the union’s own members.
‘Of course,’ he writes ‘one-and-a-half million Unite members would not come out on strike, but I know workers in key sectors and certain companies would defend their union.’
This is, of course, utterly undemocratic. But McCluskey has always owed his lofty status to an ability to gain power without necessarily commanding widespread support.
The son of a painter-decorater, who was educated at Liverpool’s selective Cardinal Godfrey school, he likes to describe himself as a former docker.
However, that’s only true up to a point: after leaving school, in the late 1960s, he did indeed get a job in the docks, but in a white-collar role as a ship’s planner, mapping where cargo would be placed in the hold.
Within a year, he’d nonetheless become a shop steward for the Transport and General Workers’ Union, and from the 1980s onwards was a full-time official, rising through the ranks until he found himself in with a shout of winning the Unite leadership in 2010, following the retirement of his colleague and ally Tony Woodley.
In that election, a mere 240,000 Unite members bothered to vote (a turnout of just 15 per cent), of which just over 100,000 backed McCluskey. In other words, he was supported by a mere seven per cent of its members.
In an interview after he was elected, he denied he was an extremist, declaring: ‘I’ve never called myself Red Len except when I’m supporting Liverpool Football Club.’
Yet, as we now know, he soon began formulating plans to illegally cripple the country’s economy.
Ironically, polls at the time showed that around a third of the Union’s members were actually Conservative voters.
But McCluskey’s victory gave him access to the union’s vast financial war-chest, which was endlessly used to pursue hard-Left causes and to provide unprecedented financial support to the Labour Party.
Thanks to the membership fees paid by its roughly 1.3 million members at £14.95-a-month for a full-time employee, Unite today has a whopping £388 m in its General Fund, and £16.4 m in the Political Fund that can be used for party donations, according to its
last financial accounts. McCluskey has retained his control over Unite by winning general secretary elections in 2015 (where he was backed by just under ten per cent of members) and 2017, when he controversially pipped centrist Gerard Coyne in a close ballot on a turnout of 12 per cent, meaning he was backed by roughly one in 18 members.
Mr Coyne is currently standing for re-election in this summer’s battle to succeed McCluskey, following his retirement, the results of which are due to be announced on Thursday.
His opponents are Steve Turner, who is backed by the Communist Party, and Sharon Graham, who has the support of the Socialist Workers Party.
While Mr Coyne has pledged to draw a line under Unite’s flirtation with the hard Left, and will presumably condemn McCluskey’s proposed revolution to the dustbin of history, his rivals are cut from a different cloth.
So it remains to be seen whether the departure of the union baron who has for years bankrolled Labour — while simultaneously plotting the illegal shutdown of Britain’s critical infrastructure — will lead to a restoration of sanity.
Falling out with Keir over Corbyn
Ominously, McCluskey is to release his book Always Red, to coincide with Starmer’s keynote speech at the Labour Conference in Brighton
A chapter in the memoir designed to cause maximum damage to the current Labour leader sees McCluskey reveal that he has ‘lost my personal relationship with Kier [Starmer]’ and can ‘no longer trust him’.
The reason, he alleges, is that Starmer publicly made a number of false claims last November in a heated row over Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the Party. Mr Corbyn had been booted out in the wake of a damning report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, after publicly suggesting allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour party had been exaggerated.
In a series of interviews, Starmer claimed that David Evans, Labour’s General Secretary, had decided to suspend the former leader. However McCluskey alleges that during a telephone call, Starmer admitted it was him who was responsible for the disciplinary action against Corbyn. McCluskey reveals that he then led negotiations with Starmer’s office at which a deal was hammered out that would have seen the Labour whip returned to Corbyn in return for him issuing a ‘clarification statement’.
However, he alleges that, after the statement was released, Starmer authorised his spokesman to falsely tell Sky News that ‘there was no deal’.
Ominously, McCluskey is to release his book Always Red, to coincide with Starmer’s keynote speech at the Labour Conference in Brighton.
‘Nod and a wink’ for deal with Theresa
Labour is not the only major party who has sometimes found itself getting into bed with Mr McCluskey’s Unite.
It can be revealed that Theresa May’s government held secret negotiations with Red Len in April and May 2019, when she was attempting to persuade a majority of MPs to vote for her ill-fated Brexit deal.
Talks were called by the then business secretary Greg Clark, who told Unite that in return for its support, he would agree to a number of ‘changes to the law unrelated to Brexit which would have a big benefit for trade unions’.
It can be revealed that Theresa May’s government held secret negotiations with Red Len in April and May 2019, when she was attempting to persuade a majority of MPs to vote for her ill-fated Brexit deal
Under the arrangement, Unite would then persuade Jeremy Corbyn to give Labour MPs a free vote on May’s deal, and also lobby Left-wing lawmakers to back it, hopefully sealing its passage through Westminster.
‘I settled on five demands,’ McCluskey recalls, including ‘allowing workplace balloting for industrial action, and allowing e-balloting for internal union elections.’
However, negotiations stalled when Mr Clark refused to put his offer in writing.
‘His message, in not so many words, was that much of the agreement would have to be done on a nod and a wink,’ says McCluskey. ‘That would have been difficult for me.’
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