The Unite union has endorsed Salma Yaqoob to be Labour’s candidate in May’s West Midlands Mayoral election, after the union’s West Midlands regional committee held a hustings in Birmingham.
Yaqoob’s vision for the region and her plan to beat Conservative mayor Andy Street persuaded local Unite members that she is the outstanding candidate.
Yaqoob and rival Pete Lowe gave a five minute opening presentation at the hustings and then answered eight questions from Unite members. Liam Byrne, founder of the right-wing Progress pressure group, reportedly did not turn up.
Unite Assistant General Secretary Howard Beckett said:
Unite is proud to endorse Salma Yaqoob to be the Labour candidate in the West Midlands mayoral election. Unite has accepted the recommendation from the West Midlands region after Salma’s success in last night’s hustings. She impressed members with her passion and vision for a Green New Deal in the West Midlands.
Unite believes Salma is a refreshing candidate whose long track record of campaigning can help Labour defeat the Conservatives in May.
Ms Yaqoob said:
I am delighted Unite endorsed me to be Labour’s candidate in May’s election.
The hustings gave Unite members the chance to see my plans as well as see my track record and I am really pleased they bought into my vision.”
With more than 1.2 million members Unite and its members will rightly have a massive say in which direction the Labour Party will take in the coming months and years.
I have now been endorsed by Unite, the CWU and Momentum so it really feels if my campaign has got the momentum at the moment.
As well as having huge symbolic importance, the endorsement by the UK and Ireland’s largest union gives her campaign access to Unite’s resources including volunteers and offices.
Despite being the last to enter the race Yaqoob has picked up endorsements from Unite, CWU, Momentum and Labour politicians from across the region including Hall Green MP Tahir Ali.
Other elected Labour representatives supporting her include Coventry councillors Rois Ali and Maya Ali, Sandwell councillors Stephen Jones and Ahmed Bostan and Dudley councillor Shaukat Ali.
Journalist Owen Jones, Greek socialist economist Yanis Varoufakis, PCS Union General Secretary Mark Serwotka and economist Grace Blakeley are also supporting Yaqoob’s campaign.
Yaqoob has relaunched her campaign, after the general election forced a pause, with a video about her working-class background, which has ingrained values of compassion and fairness and given her a first-hand understanding of the real-life issues people face:
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