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Fixer or fighter? Inside the political personality of Len McCluskey

Unite boss Len McCluskey is often painted as a left-wing ideologue. But does he have a more pragmatic side? And what might that mean for Brexit?

By Donald Macintyre   October 2019

Illustration: Tim McDonagh

Given the Durham Miners’ Association’s roots in 19th-century Methodism, it’s unlikely that any speaker at its annual Gala, traditionally a family outing, had exclaimed from the podium, “you should fucking well be ashamed of yourself,” until Len McCluskey did this summer.

It had been a bad week for the Labour leadership. Protests were multiplying after a BBC Panorama programme on the party’s handling of anti-semitism complaints. McCluskey was venting his outrage at deputy leader Tom Watson for criticising Jennie Formby, the party’s general secretary and ally…

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