Ten of the UK's largest trade unions have taken Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's corner, signing a joint statement giving their continued support to the embattled opposition leader. The statement, issued late on Wednesday (28 June), was carefully dissected and pored over by many to see if there were signs of any cracks appearing in their unwavering support of Corbyn.
Seen mostly as a backing of Corbyn's leadership, Labourlist - an independent weblog supportive of the Labour Party - noted that the letter, which was issued after hours of wrangling over the wording, was "less effusive than some may have expected."
It noted that the unions stopped "short of condemning any challenges to Corbyn's position. Instead, the statement said that a run against Corbyn must be "through the proper democratic procedures."
The statement said that although the unions believed that a leadership election "would be an unwelcome distraction at this time of crisis, if one nevertheless occurs through the proper procedures, we would expect all parts of the Party to honour the result and pull together in the interests of the country, and working people in particular."
Labourlist also pointed out that the statement failed to make any comment on Corbyn's performance as the party leader, and instead chose to simply note that he is "the democratically-elected Leader of our Party."
Unite, which has thrown its support behind Corbyn, has shrugged off speculation that backing for Corbyn was wavering, The Guardian reports. Len McCluskey, Unite's General Secretary, in confirming his continued support for the Labour leader, said: "If anyone wants to change the Labour leadership, they must do it openly and democratically through an election, not through resignations and pointless posturing. If there has to be such an election, Jeremy Corbyn's supporters throughout the movement will be ready for it."
Manuel Cortes, the General Secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association added; "It is almost unbelievable to watch the Labour party plunge into a crisis of its own making as MPs involves themselves in childish, self-indulgent behaviour which doesn't befit their office."
In the joint statement, the unions said: "The current crisis within the Parliamentary Labour Party is deeply regrettable and unnecessary." It said following the Brexit vote, the party needs to be fighting to preserve members' jobs.
It said that not only Labour members but millions of others will be looking at developments in Parliament with dismay. "It cannot be right to seek to denude the Labour front bench at this time, when the government more than ever needs to be scrutinised and held to account by an effective and united opposition that does the job it is paid to do."
The statement reminded Labour MPs that Corbyn's position in the party "cannot and should not be challenged except through the proper democratic procedures provided for in the Party's constitution." It also asked all MPs to "respect the authority of the Party's Leader."