HARD-LEFT firebrand Len McCluskey was left humiliated last night after his union was found guilty of smearing a moderate ex-Labour MP.
His Unite union and the Corbynista blog Skwawkbox suggested in a 2017 article that Anna Turley had acted dishonestly by joining Unite via a scheme aimed at the unemployed, in a bid to oust Mr McCluskey.
The row kicked off in December 2016 when Ms Turley and several other Labour moderates joined Unite so they could vote to kick ‘Red Len’ out as leader.
She signed up via the Community membership part of the union, which is aimed at the unemployed and costs just 50p a week.
The High Court heard the Skwarkbox story contained a press statement from Unite which suggested she acted dishonestly when signing up.
But Ms Turley furiously denied the suggestion and said she had no idea the type of membership was not meant for people on a salary.
Mr Justice Nicklin said the article had caused “serious harm” to Ms Turley’s reputation.
He awarded Ms Turley £75,000 damages from Skwawkbox founder Stephen Walker and Unite plus costs.
Ms Turley, who lost her seat of Redcar in last week’s election, blasted Unite for wasting members’ cash on legal fees.
Speaking after the case she fumed: "Their attempts at character assassination during this process, and in particular in the courtroom during a general election, were frankly appalling."
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She added: “This has been an extremely stressful and unpleasant process, and one I never imagined I would be engaged in with a trade union.
“It was also a source of great surprise to me that Unite were funding legal costs for Skwawkbox.
“I continue to find all this a colossal waste of members money and I hope serious questions will be asked of the leadership of the union by its members.”
Unite said it would dip into its coffers again to appeal against the ruling.