Worker candidate Anna Turley arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on November 12, where she slanders Unite the Union and Sqwawkbox
A secret WhatsApp group of moderate Labor MPs planned to drop Unite chief Len McCluskey to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, the high court heard today.
Anna Turley, Labor MP in Redcar, North Yorkshire, was and hopes to regain the seat, suing the union and Skwawkbox journalist Stephen Walker for publishing claims that she "dishonestly" received a cheap subscription to the union.
However, the politician informed the High Court that she "unwittingly" violated the membership rules by signing up for a 50p / week subscription to the Community union branch for unemployed and pensioners only.
41-year-old Turley famously called the Secretary General a "hole", but refused to apologize for her comment today – and insisted that it would be "disingenuous as it was part of her view".
She admitted that she believed the party had "moved too far to the left" under Corbyn, and struck McCluskey as "not accountable and influential".
In a written testimony, Turley wrote: "I have long felt that Mr. McCluskey had strangled the Labor Party and helped shape politics within the party so that it coincided with his political agenda of the hard left."
A Unite lawyer read out messages to the court from a secret WhatsApp group known as the "Birthday Club," including Labor MPs Ruth Smeeth, Stella Creasy and Chris Leslie – now a member of the Independent Group – that discussed how the general can be deposed secretary.
The court heard that Ms. Smeeth sent a link to an online article pointing out that McCluskey could step down from other critics in September 2016 before an early election, saying, "It's game in Unite!"
Anthony Hudson, QC for Unite and Stephen Walker, said MEPs used the opportunity to join the union and vote against McCluskey to launch another "coup" against Corbyn.
The lawyer said, "You wanted to remove both of them, but your ultimate goal was to get rid of Mr. McCluskey so you could make Corbyn vulnerable to another coup, right?"
"It's clear my position," Turley replied.
"It's no secret that I didn't want Corbyn to be a Labor Party leader, and I resigned, but the idea that there is another great strategy to get rid of him, you know, we had a motion of no confidence and it did not work. & # 39;
Stella Creasy, Labor MP for Walthamstow, speaks at the Labor Party Conference 2019 at the rally side event of the Jewish workers' movement
As is known, Turley, 41, called the Secretary General an "A *** hole", but refused to apologize for her comment today (Image: Len McClusky, 2018).
"It's a general change that made me feel uncomfortable."
"I think the party moved too far to the left."
The court heard Turley responding within two minutes of Ms. Smeeth's message, "Do you think (Unite) will notice if I join?"
She claimed that she "forgot" the 50-member group of MPs, but Mr. Hudson hit the MPs because he had "kept secret" of their existence.
"You have been hiding the existence of the birthday club and members for at least two years," said the lawyer.
Turley replied, "No, I completely forgot that I joined the Unite community. It was only when I received a letter from my lawyer that I was asked to look again.
Ruth Smeeth Labor MP for Stoke on Trent North and Kidgrove
"My stomach dropped completely and it was like seeing the news for the first time. That's why I came to join in and that's why I corrected my statement."
She said it was "inappropriate" for a union boss to have so much power over the parliamentary party and said, "I wanted to join Unite and I think I didn't want to be a Unite MP, I don't." "I basically don't want to follow Len in Parliament, which happens often."
"And you really wanted to remove it, didn't you?" Asked the lawyer.
& # 39; Yes absolutely. The influence he had on the Labor party was inappropriate and not accountable. I actually felt I wanted my democratic word, ”replied Ms. Turley.
When asked if she should apologize for her tweet, which McCluskey calls "a damn hole," she said, "If I pull him back and say he is not part of my view, he would be dishonest."
She is suing the union and the Skwarkbox blog for a story from 2017 in which she allegedly dishonestly received a cheap union membership to vote against McCluskey in Unite's leadership election.
Ms. Turley is asking for severe damages and possibly an injunction.
The process is expected to last all week.
The court heard other Labor MPs express their excitement at the Secretary General's dismissal.
Stella Creasy, Labor MP from Walthamstow said to the group: "Share the link, I will enjoy the #payback recruitment exercise."
Former British Labor Party MP Chris Leslie speaks at the Independent Group Party launch and press conference on February 18, 2019 in London
Nottingham East MP Chris Leslie added: "Send a round to the community branch so we can all do this."
The Walthamstow MP then published a picture of a baby who winked with the answer: "Great heads, Chris, great heads."
Ms. Turley told the court that she had decided not to accept her MP status because she feared McCluskey would block her entry into the union.
"Did you state that you were a Member of Parliament?" Asked Mr. Hudson.
"No, I didn't, because that would probably have drawn Len's attention."
"I asked (Ms. Smeeth) if she thinks he noticed because I thought he would try to stop us," said Ms. Turley.
The court heard the Redcar candidate grin when Mr. Hudson criticized the group as conspiratorial.
"They grinned when I said this group was very secret. Why? "Asked the lawyer.
"Well, it sounds very conspiratorial," said Mrs. Hurley.
"Well, it was conspiratorial, wasn't it?" Said Hudson.
"It was a group of like-minded MPs.
"It was more like an online tea room where we had a safe place to chat and discuss things," she replied.
Ms. Hurley informed the court that Unite MPs would receive voting instructions directly from McCluskey.
She said the union leader sent an email telling MPs how to vote in the recent House Speaker election.
"You knew that when you joined Unite Community, you weren't asked about your employment status."
"It's the only section of Unite where people aren't asked about their jobs."
"That's why Ms. Smeeth recommended it to you and encouraged you to join the community," said the lawyer.
"I think it's too complicated to be honest." We joined because we thought we could join as lay people. I didn't want to be a member of the Unite because you have certain obligations in Parliament. Honestly, you get instructions from Len.
"I recently saw McCluskey's House Speaker election recommending who people should vote for, and I think that's an indication that Unite MPs need to promote Unite's interests and ideals." answered Mrs. Turley.
The hearing continues.
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) News (t) Jeremy Corbyn