The leader of Unite the union Len McCluskey today (Wednesday 26 June) urged the union’s members to reject ‘divisive messages’ on Brexit and instead commit to winning the Corbyn-led government that would unify the nation.

Closing the union’s third rules conference being held in Brighton, Len McCluskey said: “Brexit is one of the greatest problems we have had to face, industrially and politically, since we came together as Unite. There will be both remainers and leavers in the hall today. That doesn’t matter; it doesn’t divide us. We are each and every one of us united in fighting for the best for our members, our communities, our industries and our society as a whole.

“Jeremy Corbyn is trying to bring the country together around the values of social justice, to reject the division between the 48 per cent and 52 per cent now poisoning our politics.

“And he is absolutely right to do so. There is no other route to a Labour government, and no other route to building a better Britain.

“You will see that your union is coming in for all sorts of criticism for our stand on Brexit, mainly from those still in denial about the result of the 2016 referendum.

“So let me take this opportunity to make our position crystal clear. We have one objective in all our political work, and that is supporting Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of Labour and winning the Labour government that can transform our country along the lines this union has always advocated.

“So we are not the union for smart-alec strategies, flip-flopping on points of principle or Baldrick-style cunning plans on Brexit.

“We are not the ones to extrapolate percentages out of polls to suit a divisive message. We stand for solidarity, loyalty, unity and a Labour victory above everything else.

“Of course, there is also a major industrial dimension to Brexit, which is why I brought together a hundred convenors from across manufacturing industry to discuss our strategy to save jobs.

“They were not interested in second referendums or anything like that. They wanted us to work to stop a disastrous ‘no deal’ Brexit with all the dislocation that would cause, and to work with government and employers to end the uncertainty that can kill investment.

“And that is what we do best as a union. Fight for our members, for their jobs, for their working conditions, for the future of their communities.”


For more information please contact Pauline Doyle Unite director of communications on 07976 832861 or Alex Flynn Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869

The full text of the speech can be read here:

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.