One unwanted side-effect of the battle between Julie Morgan and Carolyn Harris for the new position of Welsh Labour deputy leader has been the suspension of three officials of the Unite union in Wales for supporting one candidate when their union had endorsed another – or more precisely, pending investigation for appearing in images or videos promoting the other candidate that also showed Unite’s logo.
Unite has endorsed MP Harris, while many Labour members and some in Unite have backed Morgan because of her longstanding support for OMOV (one member, one vote) – Welsh Labour persists in using the ‘electoral college’ (EC) system abandoned by the Scottish and Welsh parties, in what many consider a move to protect Blairite or ‘moderate’ incumbents.
The deputy leadership election is being calculated on an EC basis, with unions and MPs/AMs each getting a third of the voting weight, so the matter of union endorsements is significant. Unite’s nomination went in to late to be valid officially, but its votes will count. Ms Morgan has the endorsement of a number of other unions.
Now Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey has intervened to lift the suspensions on the three affected officials. In letters informing the trio, McCluskey said:
I have reviewed the situation regarding your suspension from holding office.
I understand the circumstances surrounding the Regional Secretary’s action and the difficult situation this placed him in, in defending the integrity of Unite Wales.
I have, however, decided to lift your suspension with immediate effect in the belief that this will assist in repairing any fractures that have emerged.
Ballots close at midday next Wednesday.
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