Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Miliband Attacks Labour's Largest Donor over Games Strike Threat

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Miliband Attacks Labour's Largest Donor over Games Strike Threat

Article excerpt

Byline: Craig Woodhouse Political Correspondent

ED MILIBAND distanced himself from his biggest financial backer today after the union boss called for civil disobedience during the Olympics in protest at government cuts.

The Labour leader wrote on Twitter that it was "totally unacceptable and wrong" for Len McCluskey, head of Unite, to call for widespread disorder and describe the Games as an "opportunity" for strike action.

Mr Miliband was urged to hand back more than [pounds sterling]4million that Unite has given his party since he took over.

At Prime Minister's Questions, David Cameron said: "Unite is the biggest donor to the party opposite, providing around a third of their money, and had more role than anybody else in putting [Mr Miliband] in his place. It's not good enough for them just to put out a tweet, they need to condemn this utterly and start turning back the money."

Ken Livingstone has also received thousands of pounds from Unite. Labour's candidate for London Mayor said: "My position is unequivocal, there must be no disruption of the Games from any quarter."

Mr McCluskey had told the Guardian his union was considering strikes during the Games as part of the fight against "ideological" government "attacks" on public sector workers.

While no specifics had been discussed, he flagged up the possibility of bus workers taking action. He added: "I believe the unions, and the general community, have got every right to be out protesting. If the Olympics provide us with an opportunity, then that's exactly one that we should be looking at." He also called on the public to engage in "civil disobedience".

A source at the civil service PCS union, a leading group in the battle against pension changes which saw two million people strike last year, said it would also consider action during the Games. …

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