“The reports in The Times are an extremely crude attempt to smear Unite and its leadership through a disgraceful attempt at guilt-by-association.
“They attempt to create an impression of a connection between Unite and the criminal investigations taking place in the City of Liverpool on the basis of what even the newspaper is forced to admit is no evidence whatsoever.
“There is absolutely no link between the union or any of its officials with those investigations. Merely coming from Merseyside is not an offence save in the outlook of the Murdoch media, which long has form in this respect.
“The reports are riddled with inaccuracies concerning the construction of Unite’s education, hotel and office facility in Birmingham and they include figures that are wildly erroneous, presented without source or verification.
“The facility in Birmingham also contains a 1000-capacity state of the art conference centre. Independent auditors have confirmed that the hotel, education and conference centre is as an asset to the union to the value of the union’s investment.
“At every stage of this project there have been clear and consistent tendering requirements, with progress reported regularly to the union’s Executive Council.
“Unite’s Birmingham complex is a world-class facility, built to the highest standards using unionised workers and it will help to regenerate a derelict area of England’s second city. Those who seek to misrepresent this project do so to advance their own agenda relating to the election for General Secretary which will take place this year.
“They have an established disregard for the truth.
“Unite is focussed solely on protecting its members during the current pandemic crisis. It does so effectively because its financial strength and democratic governance is second to none in the trade union movement.
“These smears and innuendos will not divert the union from its purpose but they do signify the further decline of a once-respected newspaper.”