Boss Starmer wants Coyne to step down in case he pulls votes away from Turner
Birmingham Edgbaston MP Preet Kaur Gill has emailed local members to back right-winger Gerard Coyne in the contest to become Unite’s next general secretary – despite the reported preference of Keir Starmer and his allies for Steve Turner.
The disgraced Coyne, who admitted data breaches in the 2017 Unite election and suffered a series of humiliating defeats when he tried to challenge Len McCluskey’s win, is said to be under pressure from Starmer’s allies to step down from the race in case he pulls votes away from Steve Turner, whom Starmer prefers to the ‘nightmare scenario’ of a win for left-winger Howard Beckett.
Ms Gill emailed members to plead for volunteers to phone-bank in the Hartlepool by-election, which Starmer’s allies fear will be lost to the Tories for the first time in the constituency’s history – but added a ‘PS’ urging them to back Coyne:
Local insiders believe that Gill has backed Coyne despite her boss’s wishes, under pressure from a group of West Midlands ‘usual suspects’ – MPs and others closely aligned with the ‘Labour First’ faction that backed Coyne in 2017.
Meanwhile, Howard Beckett’s launch event on Sunday, which had to be moved from Zoom because of demand, was watched by more than 50,000 people across various social media platforms in its first 24 hours online, with thousands signed up to help his campaign.
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Skwawkbox is backing Beckett for the Unite leadership.