Giants of the Labour movement as well as a host of grassroots union members and representatives have backed left-wing fighter Howard Beckett to steer the union through the coming challenges when McCluskey steps down
Unite’s Howard Beckett has emerged as favourite to be the left’s candidate in the next Unite general secretary election after a flood of endorsements from the grassroots of the union and giants of the Labour movement.
Beckett’s campaign has published a near-constant stream of videos from representatives, convenors and local committee members pledging their vote in Saturday’s United Left ballot and asking others to do the same – but Beckett has also received support from some of Unite’s and the movement’s biggest hitters.
Regional secretary Jimmy Kelly has endorsed Beckett, while the union’s Chair Tony Woodhouse backed him in an email sent out to members by ‘PULS’ – Progressive United Left Scotland.
Howard has received fantastic video endorsements from Jennie Formby and Jimmy Kelly, which you may have seen on Twitter or Facebook. It was great to see Jennie looking so healthy and well and sharing her thoughts on Unite and the need for strong trade unionist left voices. Jimmy, as you may know, is one of the greatest ever Irish trade unionists and there at the “birth” of Unite.
In addition to the many and varied endorsements Howard Beckett has received to date, it is very important to convey the position of the Chair of Unite, Tony Woodhouse, who is happy for us to say, in respect of the UL hustings on the 18th of July, of the 2 candidates who are seeking the UL nomination, Howard Beckett is the candidate he feels he can and would be able to work with in the role of General Secretary of our union.
Please also see attached PERSONAL endorsements from myself and John.
We will be in touch again with further details regarding the process for the hustings on 18th July but in the meantime stay safe and keep left (as well as 2 m apart!)
In solidarityPULS’s email to its members
The personal endorsements mentioned in the email carry a lot of weight, coming from the chair and secretary of PULS who also sit on the union’s Scottish executive – with John Gillespie chairing the executive:
But in one of the most dramatic developments of the contest, former Labour Party general secretary Jennie Formby, a senior Unite officer of decades standing, appeared in a more than 3-minute-long video to explain in detail why she is backing Beckett for the union’s top job:
Formby’s statement of support provoked a response from Beckett’s opponent in the contest for the United Left nomination:
Turner subsequently deleted the tweet.
Both candidates have been endorsed by incumbent Len McCluskey as fit and able successors when McCluskey retires, but there are differences in the approaches, abilities and style of both men and Beckett’s strong performances in interviews with left activists have showcased his motivations and personality as well as his politics.
United Left members will have a distinct choice when they hear both at the hustings on Saturday and cast their votes in what is a vital decision for the movement – but it seems that Beckett has emerged as the frontrunner.
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