Trade union kingpin Len McClusky today launched a foul-mouthed attack on Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson as the party’s civil war over anti-Semitism showed no signs of a cease-fire.
McCluskey used a speech at the Durham Miners’ Gala, attended by Jeremy Corbyn, to tell Mr Watson he ‘should f**king be ashamed’ of himself for criticism levelled at party general secretary Jennie Formby, who has breast cancer.
Mr McCluskey, a close confidant of Mr Corbyn who has a child with Mrs Formby, later took to Twitter to ram home his message.
He wrote: ‘I’ve said it today at the Durham Miners Gala so I’ll repeat it here. Attacking a woman going through chemotherapy Tom Watson you are a f***ing disgrace.’
It was the latest move in a week which has seen Labour fall into bitter recrimination over anti-Semitism following a highly critical Panorama documentary on Wednesday.
More than 30 whistleblowers are now preparing to give evidence to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which is investigating the party’s handling of abuse. They apparently include serving members of staff.
Labour has furiously denied the claims, which it said were made by ‘disaffected employees’ who had always opposed Mr Corbyn’s leadership.
McCluskey used a speech at the Durham Miners’ Gala, attended by Jeremy Corbyn, to tell Mr Watson he ‘should f**king be ashamed’ of himself
The Labour leader, pictured with his wife Laura Alvarez, will get to watch traditional colliery brass bands marching through the city below
On Friday Diane Abbott led a cabal of hard Left MPs who piled into Mr Watson on social media after he criticised general secretary Jennie Formby.
Shadow home secretary Ms Abbott retweeted a series of critical remarks about the deputy leader, including one questioning his position after he ramped up pressure on the party over its handling of anti-Semitism in the wake of a damning BBC Panorama documentary.
The close associate of Mr Corbyn shared a tweet from NEC representative Claudia Webbe criticising Mr Watson for sending Ms Formby a highly critical letter.
‘This is not behaviour befitting of the Office of Deputy Leader. You should consider your position?’ it said.
Party chairman Ian Lavery, shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon and fellow Labour MPs Emma Dent Coad and Danielle Rowley were among those who also published diatribes as the schism in the party over anti-semitism widened even further.
It followed an extraordinary riposte from Ms Formby, who said it was ‘inappropriate’ for Mr Watson to highlight her role in the scandal while she was being treated.
The rebuke came after Mr Watson wrote to Ms Formby calling for the party to publish its submission to an official racism probe, as well as raising allegations she had deleted emails relating to cases – something she denies.
In a furious reply, Ms Formby said she was ‘very disappointed’ in his approach and accused him of abusing his position.
She said: ‘Traducing my reputation and publicly attacking me when you know I am undergoing chemotherapy and am unable to respond in the media is another example of the inappropriate way in which you choose to discuss this issue.’
Jeremy Corbyn happily posed for pictures from a balcony as he watched marching bands and banners at the 135th Durham Miners’ Gala.
The Labour leader, 70, is set to speak at today’s event, known locally as the Big Meeting.
The gala will see traditional colliery brass bands march through the city ahead of their respective pit banners before pausing outside the County Hotel building.
The bands will then play their ‘party piece’ for the gathered union leaders, invited guests and local dignitaries on the hotel balcony – including Mr Corbyn.
Mr Corbyn told the BBC: ‘It feels like going home.
‘The gala represents the sense of community and togetherness that defines the Labour Party and our trade union movement.’
Around 200,000 people are expected to attend, over two decades after the last pit closed in the Durham coalfield.
This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the Durham Miners Association.
Beginning in 1871, the gala is the biggest trade union event in Europe and is part of an annual celebration of socialism.
Around 200,000 people are expected to attend, over two decades after the last pit closed in the Durham coalfield
Today’s event, known locally as the Big Meeting, is expected to draw 200,000 people to the streets of Durham. Pictured are Labour supporters holding a banner that reads: ‘Durham for Corbyn. For the many, not the few’
Locals take to the streets and perform in brass bands on the second Saturday of July every year as they march to the old Racecourse where political speeches are held
Mr Corbyn said of today’s event: ‘The gala represents the sense of community and togetherness that defines the Labour Party and our trade union movement’
Beginning in 1871, the gala is the biggest trade union event in Europe and is part of an annual celebration of socialism
The gathering, started in 1871, developed into the largest unofficial miners and trade union gathering in the United Kingdom
Mr Corbyn also posed for a selfie with his wife Laura Alvarez on the balcony earlier today
Dylan Clarkson, six, is pictured dressed as a miner while parading through the streets of Durham on his way to the old Racecourse
After playing for special guests, the bands will march to the local racecourse where they will hear from a number of speakers.
Durham Miners’ Association secretary Alan Mardghum told the BBC: ‘We are delighted and proud that Jeremy Corbyn is returning to Durham again to speak at this year’s Big Meeting.
‘Jeremy is the 15th leader of the Labour Party to speak at the Durham Miners’ Gala and continues a tradition that dates back to the first Labour leader Keir Hardie, who spoke at The Big Meeting in 1906.’
The band of the Durham Miners Association march through the streets over two decades since the last pit closed in the Durham coalfield
The gala forms part of the culture and heritage of the area and represents the communal values of the north east of England
This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the Durham Miners Association. Pictured: the Houghton le Spring pipe band
Harry Dunphy, 7, from Catterick, poses for a photo as he waits to march through Durham today
Two young boys in matching tracksuits gaze at a banner while waiting to begin the march through the streets
Mr Corbyn was seen clapping for passing marching bands on the balcony bearing a banner which said ‘Durham for Corbyn’
Pipe bands and banners parade through Durham. Most banners represent factions of the National Union of Mineworkers
The Durham Miners Association banner is unveiled and features a portrait of Peter Lee, miners’ leader and county councillor in 1919. He started working in a mine aged ten in 1874
Corbyn has addressed the event for the past three years as Labour leader and will address it for a fourth time this year
Durham Miners’ Association secretary Alan Mardghum told the BBC: ‘We are delighted and proud that Jeremy Corbyn is returning to Durham again to speak at this year’s Big Meeting’
He added: ‘Jeremy is the 15th leader of the Labour Party to speak at the Durham Miners’ Gala and continues a tradition that dates back to the first Labour leader Keir Hardie, who spoke at The Big Meeting in 1906′