A squabbling Tory party with no plan for the UK when it leaves the European Union is in danger of creating a catastrophe out of Brexit, the leader of the country’s biggest union, Unite, will say today (Sunday 10 September).
Len McCluskey will condemn the Tories’ failure to put the national interest beyond internal party feuding when he addresses TUC Congress in Brighton during the Brexit debate, saying: “This is a divided, reckless government, without plan or purpose beyond its own survival and is driving Britain and many of our key industries straight towards the precipice placing tens of thousands of jobs in jeopardy.
“And here’s the real problem, colleagues, much of the Tory party just doesn’t care.
“It’s all collateral damage as far as they’re concerned, on the highway to their low-wage, low-tax utopia, a second Singapore floating off Europe, undercutting wages and social protections.”
Len McCluskey will warn that the country “cannot afford a Tory Brexit” and say to the unions gathered that “only unremitting pressure from the labour movement is going to avert this catastrophe.”
He will remind delegates that prime minister May’s promises to protect workers’ rights through the EU withdrawal bill have a familiar and hollow ring: “Theresa May says it’s not her intention to do that but calling an early general election wasn’t her intention either – until it suited. She regrets that decision now, and let me make it clear – if she uses Brexit as a pretext to attack workers’ rights, she will live to regret that too.”
Len McCluskey will also use his speech to restate Unite’s full support of the Labour party position of a transition period, saying that it is vital that: “The UK avoids crashing out of the EU without a plan, by remaining within the single market for a short additional period.
“We also support Labour in opposing the Tories’ EU withdrawal bill, which will give ministers powers to scrap workers’ rights as and when the fancy takes them.”