Analysis comment

Exclusive: former LOTO and current Evans staffer attacks Unite members’ account as pro-Beckett – when it is helping members nominate all 4 candidates

Senior Labour staffer attacks decision not to accept her follow request and ‘likes’ tweet wrongly claiming the account is supporting Howard Beckett

Anneliese Midgley, a former Starmer staffer and now reportedly working for Labour’s acting general secretary David Evans, has posted a tweet criticising a grassroots Unite member account after it decided not to accept her request to follow it. The account is locked, meaning that the account holders have the opportunity to accept or decline such requests.

When her follow request was declined, Midgley posted an affronted tweet protesting her former position in the union:

Of course, the account wouldn’t see a question from a blocked account, but others could.

Midgley’s tweet triggered responses claiming the account is a support account for Unite general secretary candidate Howard Beckett, at least one of which Midgley liked and responded to:

Some respondents were critical of her comments. One pointed out that being a political director of a union is not exactly a ‘grassroots’ position, while another observed that her conduct did not reflect well on her senior position in Labour’s hierarchy:

Skwawkbox spoke to the account holders, who denied it is a pro-Beckett account and pointed out that it has posted nomination details for all four would-be candidates to lead the union:

A spokesperson for the account told Skwawkbox that its purpose is to ensure members have access to nomination information and a chance to participate in the election regardless of whom they support.

Skwawkbox contacted Anneliese Midgley for comment on why she had attacked the members’ account, why she follows a separate anonymous Twitter account set up to attack Howard Beckett – and whether any of this is appropriate for a senior LOTO-turned-Southside staffer.

Ms Midgley did not respond. Instead, a Unite official got in touch to try to persuade Skwawkbox not to run this article, a request that was declined on the grounds that scrutiny of public tweets of senior Labour staff is entirely appropriate, particularly in an election where three of the four candidates are running on a platform of reducing Unite’s involvement in politics and in particular in Labour politics.

Update 3 May: late on the evening of publication, Anneliese Midgley responded to say that she had not been asked by any of the other candidates or by Keir Starmer or David Evans to make the attack. She also said that she did not know what the Grassroots account had tweeted because it had blocked her – and that she follows Boris Johnson on Twitter as well as the anti-Beckett attack account.

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