Ken Livingstone has declared his support for Jon Cruddas to be Deputy Leader of the Labour party, praising the Dagenham MP's position against "Britain being saddled with the immense cost of developing a new generation of nuclear weapons".The London mayor also commended his stance on domestic issues including combating poverty, fighting racism, expressing support for better public transport and trade union links.
"I am delighted to give him my full support," Livingstone said. "He will be a fresh voice helping to renew Labour at this important time."
"Jon Cruddas has impressed me with his thoughtfulness and tenacity and I very much hope that Labour members will back him to become the next deputy leader of the party," he added.
Unite, the 'superunion' created by the merger of the T&G and Amicus, is the largest Labour Party affiliate with 1.39 millions members who will have a vote in the contest. It has announced it believes Jon Cruddas to be the best deputy leader candidate of the six, and will urge members to vote for him.
Joint general secretary Derek Simpson said: "Jon Cruddas' stated policies mirror our members' desire for better job security, decent pensions, affordable housing and public services provided by the public sector.
"Jon is unlike any other candidate standing for the deputy leadership - he alone is calling for a change of direction in order to reconnect with the Labour Party's core supporters."
Unite said it wanted a government agenda focused on supporting working people, a halt to private sector involvement in public services, an end to NHS cuts and improved rights for agency workers.
And it said it wanted to work towards 'Warwick 2', a successor to the 2004 deal between the government and the unions over labour policy and trade union law. (Although the fact that the original Warwick agreement has still not been implemented by the government may be of more relevance!)
Meanwhile it seems that the GMB and UNISON may well back Peter Hain. This is the feeling I am getting talking to officers of the GMB, and is due to the ill-advised remarks attributed to Jon Cruddas about reducing the union block vote at conference from 50% to 33%. I say attributed to Jon Cuddas, becasue I have not been able to find any original article or source where Jon Cruddas actually says this