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Unite challenger plays his Trump card

Following Donald Trump’s surprise victory in America, Jeremy Corbyn’s team have tried to take inspiration from the new US president by pitching the Labour leader as a left-wing Trump. In a bid to jump on the populist wave, Corbyn and his supporters have gone to lengths to big up his anti-establishment credentials — even adopting a Trump-esque approach to the media.

However, are these tactics about to catch up with Corbyn’s comrades? Steerpike understands union bosses are to use Trump as a dividing line in the Unite leadership election. In a speech today, Gerard Coyne — who is running for the post of General Secretary of Unite — will take aim against his rival Len McCluskey, a key Corbyn ally, over his position on Trump:

‘Last week, Len said that Donald Trump’s election was a “real rejection of establishment politics, a real rejection of a political elite”. I completely disagree. His election has put more billionaires into government than ever before, and he used his inauguration for anti-worker policies.’

In contrast, Coyne will say that workers must be protected from the potentially toxic side effects of Trump:

‘Trump is about to embark on an era in which profitability increasingly takes precedence over the health and safety of the workforce. If that happens, we must not allow the contagion to spread across the Atlantic to the UK. That is what Len should be warning about.’

If the campaign is dominated by Trump, Mr S suspects McCluskey will struggle to keep both Corbyn and his union colleagues on side.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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