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McCluskey denies Falkirk allegations

Source BBC News@

Len McCluskeyLen McCluskey claims the leaks are part of a "Tory trap"

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has denied fresh claims his union tried to thwart a Labour investigation into alleged vote rigging in Falkirk.

He claimed emails suggesting the union engaged in forgery and coercion were leaked to the Sunday Times as part of a Tory plot to discredit Ed Miliband.

The newspaper says the emails include details of an internal Labour report into the Falkirk debacle.

Mr McCluskey told the BBC's Sunday Politics the paper had "nothing new".

"We didn't thwart anything. The Labour Party report was deeply flawed," he told presenter Andrew Neil.


Unite was accused of coercing its members to join the Falkirk Labour Party or signing them up without their knowledge, to ensure the union's favoured candidate, Karie Murphy, was selected as a general election candidate.

An internal Labour Party investigation cleared Unite and its members of any wrongdoing after key witnesses withdrew their allegations.

The Sunday Times said last week it had seen a cache of emails raising questions about whether Unite influenced the outcome of the inquiry.

In fresh revelations published on Sunday, the newspaper says it has seen 1,000 emails to and from Stephen Deans, chairman of the Falkirk Labour Party, which it says reveal the full extent of the plot to influence the selection process.

It also includes extracts of the internal Labour report - which has never been published by the party - in which Labour officials say there were "deliberate attempts to frustrate" interviews with some of the key witnesses.

The emails suggest that a letter retracting key evidence in the Labour investigation was not written by the witnesses but by union officials and approved by Mr Deans, according to the Sunday Times.


In an interview with The Sunday Politics show, Mr McCluskey conceded that Mr Deans had seen some of the retractions before they were made public, but that this was understandable as they had been written by members of his own family.

"This is an ordinary decent family, who were suddenly faced with the full weight of the establishment - the police, a forensic solicitor. Of course they spoke to Stevie Deans."

But he claimed the leaks to the Sunday Times were part of a wider plot to undermine Ed Miliband.

"This is a trap being set by Tory Central Office," he told presenter Andrew Neil.

"And Ed Miliband should not fall into those traps."

Commenting on the latest allegations, a Labour Party spokesman said: "We've acted swiftly and thoroughly to uphold the integrity of the Labour Party throughout this matter and will continue to do so."

Police in Scotland, who earlier this year dropped an investigation into the Falkirk allegations, are studying the leaked emails.

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