Labour First secretary spoke on behalf of disgraced right-wing candidate – but Beckett polled more votes than other three candidates combined
On another bumper day for the left’s candidate to be the next general secretary of the giant Unite union, Howard Beckett won at least 14 more branches around the UK in the nomination phase of the contest – but one was especially interesting.
LE 7337L branch is a large ‘EMS’ (Engineering, Manufacturing and Steel) branch – and the haunt of a number of hardcore members of the Labour right. As such, right-winger Gerard Coyne’s supporters expected to pick up a win in its nomination meeting this evening. Labour First secretary Luke Akehurst, a member of the branch, spoke on behalf of Coyne, with former Labour general secretary Jennie Formby speaking for Howard Beckett and others on behalf of Sharon Graham and Steve Turner, the other candidates in the contest.
And despite the right’s expectations, Beckett won handsomely – garnering more votes than all the other candidates combined.
Gerard Coyne tried to topple Len McCluskey in the 2017 general secretary election and was thoroughly discredited after running a low campaign and admitting, live on national radio, that he had accessed Labour party data for his campaign to which he had no right under data protection laws – then launching interminable, embarrassing challenges to try to overturn his loss in the ballot, only to have the adjudicators clear the union and the McCluskey campaign and shred Coyne’s credibility by saying he had acted as improperly as he accused McCluskey of doing and describing him as ‘inconsistent, confusing and weak’.
To add manure to the sandwich, the Information Commissioner agreed that Coyne had breached data laws.
Despite this record, some of the Labour right are backing Coyne again as they expect him to turn Unite into the puppy of their faction – but others have reportedly urged him to stand down and are backing Steve Turner.
Beckett’s campaign continues to exceed his opponents expectations, seeing key wins in regions and sectors that opponents’ supporters thought they had sewn up. And tonight he parked a very big vehicle on the Labour right’s lawn by #smashing it’ in the branch of some of Coyne’s core supporters.
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