Jeremy Corbyn’s Head of External Relations has publicly slammed Len McCluskey over a “transphobic” letter he has signed on the issue of gender recognition.
Laura Murray tweeted that a letter signed by Len McCluskey about the Gender Recognition Act was “one-sided” and “transphobic”. Murray is key figure in the office of the Leader of the Opposition, and is the daughter of Unite’s Chief of Staff and Corbyn’s senior adviser Andrew Murray.
She also shared a tweet from activist Grace Petrie, saying she was “bitterly disappointed that Len McCluskey has given his support to a transphobic action group called Women’s Place”, a group campaigning against ‘gender self-identification’ mentioned in the letter.
McCluskey’s letter calling for “debate to take place over proposed changes to the [Gender Recognition] Act” has drawn criticism from a range of other young activists on the far-left.
Lara McNeill, the youth rep on Labour’s ruling NEC, replied to McCluskey saying that the letter was “unbalanced”, “scaremongering” and “doesn’t represent the views and values of the Labour Party”. Her public attack on McCluskey is particularly surprising as Unite was instrumental in securing her election.
Alt-left commentator Aaron Bastani said some of McCluskey’s co-signatories “have no interest in open debate” and criticised the letter for failing to mention “actual existing transphobia and abuse”. Tom Gann, the editor of the New Socialist blog established last year, said he was “disgusted by Len signing this”.
Labour’s official LGBT group has said it intends to write to signatories of the letter to “express our disappointment”, adding that “one-sided letters that ignore the harassment and abuse of trans people only sow division”.
The row over McCluskey’s letter is just the latest episode of a bitter row over the rights of trans people on Labour’s far-left that has seen activists burn copies of Owen Jones’ book and raise £27,000 to sue the Labour Party.