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  1. ITV Report

Len McCluskey says Jeremy Corbyn 'to blame' for confusion over Labour's Brexit policy

Len McCluskey told ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston he had 'no animosity' towards Theresa May. Photo: ITV News

Unite union boss Len McCluskey has told ITV News that he blames the Labour Party for not clarifying its position on Brexit.

Speaking to ITV Political Editor Robert Peston for his new online series Now What?, Mr McClusky also said there are circumstances in which he'd support a second national vote on a Brexit deal.

"If Labour started campaigning for a second referendum it would be a disaster, because we have had a vote. When you have a referendum you have to abide by the results."

But he continued: "In my opinion, there are circumstances where the Labour party would consider trying to press for whatever deal, going back to the people, for the people to vote. Not for whether they want to stay in Europe, they've already voted on that."

When asked what a vote would achieve he added: "If it (support) went down it would mean effectively not only would Theresa May step down, but there would be the likelihood of a general election."

In the wide-ranging interview Mr McCluskey said he had "no animosity" towards the prime minister but condemned her as a "disaster ... with no authority".

Yet, when pushed on Labour's Brexit policy and the confusion about the exact position, he then told Peston: “I don’t blame you for this, I blame the Labour Party for not clarifying its position.”

For Mr McCluskey – it’s a matter of semantics. Asked by Peston, if Labour is in favour of membership to the single market and customs union, he said: “The word membership is a small word but important word. We cannot be members of the single market or the customs union… so you replace it with a customs union.”

“It has to be an agreement that the UK and the Europeans will agree to – same as access to a tariff-free market – that is what Labour’s policy is.”

“The reality is what we want is our own agreement – not a Norway agreement but a UK agreement that gives us the access to tariff-free to the market.”

“I think believe we would have a very close relationship with our European partners but it would be our agreement.”

In a lighter moment, the Unite general secretary revealed himself to be a pure romantic who often takes a poetry book on holiday.

  • Watch the full episode of Now What? with Len McCluskey here