Today's Sunday Times carries an extensive attack on Unite the union, apparently based on emails given to the newspaper by Ineos or its agents. The Sunday Times submitted a list of questions to Unite yesterday, in response to which the union sent a statement to reporter David Leppard, well within the deadline he had imposed for receipt of answers. Not a word was carried in the Sunday Times today. Attempts to secure an explanation for this from Mr Leppard have been ignored.
We release below the statement sent to Mr Leppard, in order to place Unite's response to the allegations on the record and also to draw attention to the debased standards of journalism now practised at the Sunday Times, little more than a mouthpiece for Lynton Crosby's Tory agenda.
"This report is a rehash of issues already investigated by Police Scotland and the Labour party, both of which found that Unite had done nothing wrong, and had broken neither the law nor the party’s rule book as it stood at the time.
“Specifically, Unite entirely denies any involvement in or knowledge of the forging of signatures on application forms or of any documents whatsoever; the coercing of individuals to join the Labour party – however that might be accomplished; the recruitment of individuals to the party without their knowledge or any other breach of Labour party rules. Unite called for an independent public enquiry into what happened in Falkirk, and we remain entirely happy to assist such an inquiry – and draw appropriate lessons from it if necessary – should one be established.
“Some of the questions submitted, however, appear to relate to conduct by third parties, about which Unite cannot comment. Unite would also point out that once individuals join the Labour party they can involve themselves as much or as little in the party’s business as they choose, but Unite would certainly encourage any of its members to play as full a part in the party’s life as they can.
“On the separate matter of Mr McCluskey’s call to Mr Grant, Unite entirely denies that he used the words cited. Unite has never made any secret of its support for Stevie Deans, nor does it now, but the suggestion that Mr McCluskey was threatening unlawful industrial action is entirely repudiated. It is for Ineos to explain its handling of Mr Deans’ case.”
For further information please contact Pauline Doyle on 07976832861