Journalist Jones backs Turner

Journalist Owen Jones has backed Steve Turner in the contest to become the next general secretary of the giant Unite union, tweeting last night that ‘everyone on the left should be backing’ him.

However, Jones then deleted his tweet without explanation. He told Skwawkbox that he still supports Turner but wished he had phrased his tweet differently.

Last month Turner said of right-wing Labour godfather John Spellar:

I’m miles away from John politically, but I’m a personable character. We’ll have a chat and a laugh when he’s at a match. He’s a political foe but he’s not my personal enemy.

According to the Morning Star and Tribune, since March Spellar has faced questions about his time as a senior official of then-electricians’ union EETPU, after former Tory ‘hard man’ Norman Tebbit claimed that Tebbit, in government, had met an official of the union for advice on how to deal with left-wing unionists. Tebbit also revealed that he had received regular briefings on union leaders from Special Branch officers. Lawyers for the Blacklist Support Group wrote to Mr Spellar to ask for clarification on any part he has played. The MP, who was reportedly political officer of the union from 1969 to 1992, does not appear to have commented publicly on the matter.

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