Media have consistently under-reported Beckett’s performance, but left favourite expected to finish on around 400 nominations
Tom Watson has deleted his retweet of an article claiming that outgoing Unite boss Len McCluskey is ‘under pressure to persuade candidates to step aside’ in the union’s leadership election.
Watson, who participated in a ‘risible’ smear last week against left favourite Howard Beckett, clearly wants Beckett out of the contest at all costs. But Unite activists in Scotland, Ireland and Wales have rebelled against the notion that their favourite candidate should step down in favour of candidates with largely English backing – Beckett has substantial support in England too – so the chances that McCluskey, who in any case has given no indication that he wanted any of the candidates to ‘step aside’, have evaporated.
Watson appears to have wanted to remove the evidence of yet another wrong call.
Meanwhile, despite rivals originally hoping he would struggle to reach the threshold – and persistent under-reporting of Beckett’s performance in the nominations phase of the campaign, the left favourite has now received at least 353 nominations and, with notifications continuing to come in after verification by electoral services provider CES, he is expected to reach around 400 and clearly has the campaign momentum.
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