Analysis comment Exclusive

Exclusive: Turner ‘allies’ suspend chair of Community branch that backed Beckett after Turner, Graham ducked hustings

West London Unite Community branch chair suspended, supposedly for post praising old staff member, after two-thirds of members back Beckett

London Unite officials said to be close to Steve Turner have controversially suspended the chair of West London Unite Community, reportedly for sharing,

a picture of an old member of staff and saying he wished there were more like him.

The officials are said to have accused the branch chair of embarrassing the current organiser.

Last month, almost two-thirds of the West London branch nominated Howard Beckett after rivals Turner and Sharon Graham refused to take part in a hustings the Community branch wanted to organise featuring all three candidates, saying they would only participate in separate question-and-answer sessions. Under pressure from local officials at the time of the aborted hustings, the Chair – not the source of the original information – later denied that they had avoided facing Beckett, but members overwhelmingly backed Beckett.

Now, with Turner’s camp pressing hard to try to force left favourite Howard Beckett out of the contest, local Unite members believe Turner’s allies are getting their payback in early for the embarrassment he suffered. One local figure told Skwawkbox:

It’s outrageous. Typical London and East.

Unite Community is the union’s section for people not in paid employment. The West London chair had been in post for a decade, growing the branch to one of the largest Community branches.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your help. The site is provided free of charge but depends on the support of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to without hardship, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here to set up a monthly donation via GoCardless (SKWAWKBOX will contact you to confirm the GoCardless amount). Thanks for your solidarity so SKWAWKBOX can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. Without knowing the figures behind them the percentage of votes are meaningless. How many members actually voted for each candidate?
    Can’t Len step in and sort this out, he’s still in charge for now.

    1. It doesn’t matter how many members voted- clearly no Turner supporters were prevented from voting-unlike in the Unite Left endorsement vote, where huge numbers of Beckett supporters were denied the right to vote at the meeting- and there’s no way you can seriously argue Beckett’s victory in this branch is suspect.

      1. I agree Kenburch, as a Turner’s supporter this is socking and needs to be urgently investigated.
        I can confirm that I haven’t heard any allegations of shenanigans from Beckett’s supporters. Despite the non-Unite members attacking Turner here non-stop. The same cannot be say from Unite Beckett’s supporters that in my personal experience are behaving comradely.

      2. kenburch – I do wish you would stop inventing stuff, I didn’t even hint that Beckett’s nomination win at this branch was suspect in any way but there is usually a reason why people don’t give the actual numbers voting.
        The numbers count, was it a dozen members or several hundred taking part in the vote.

      3. Chesham and Amersham By-Election •
        Mandelson Blair Sir Rodney Starmer’s choice DUMPED⤵️ Dumped AGAIN⤵️⤵️

        SIR Rodney Starmer out-Torying the Blue Tories • Spun by putrid Peter Mandelson & Blair’s “centre ground” Red Tory utter tosh

        Limp Dims 21,517 almost 57%
        Cummings’s Johnson Tories 13,489, 35.5%
        Greens 1,480

        SIR Rodney Starmer’s “Labour” labeled choice Natasa Pantelic ❔Wait for it…

        622 votes under Sir Keith.
        six hundred and twenty two votes • That’s right people, Starmer’s choice Deposit lost by Starmer’s ‘Labour’‼️‼️‼️

        Every single day Mandelson, Blair Sir Rodney Starmer sink lower. PREDICTABLE.
        PREDICTED ahead of the curve on
        Turner Coyne Graham will crush the welfare of ALL workers IF they get their grubby hands on the Unite leadership. Graham Coyne Turner will collaborate with the entryist parasites Mandelson Blair Starmer Evans to DESTROY true Labour.
        Workers, “The Many” need to choose someone WILLING to speak truth to power – HOWARD BECKETT 🌹

        or else

        Keith’s CHOICES – Turner Coyne Graham will destroy true Labour for good.

        SIR RODNEY STARMER ex DPP but still current tool of The Establishment
        Status quo 6️⃣ 2️⃣ 2️⃣ votes. 622 SteveH davidH SH it looks great to you and your lot ? ? ?


      4. All this stuff from Skwawkbox about the overwhelming support from the ‘UNITE Community Branches’ for Beckett , needs to be put in context. There are only about 6 to 7 thousand members NATIONWIDE in the (unique in trades union terms) ‘Community’ branches. Out of a union membership of over a million the ‘Community branches are all tiny in number, and not composed of many actual currently working people at all – but the usual suspect old (often VERY old – like me) , usually ultraleft, Lefties , who, with different hats on, people every other local campaign and grouplet. I myself was exactly such an old Leftie in a UNITE Community branch. A good source of funding for Left campaigns, but relevance to the everyday workplace/industrial struggles of the mainstream UNITE members ? Not much. Proper UNITE industrial branches will often have thousands of members in each – whereas a ‘nomination’ for Beckett from a typical UNITE Community branch will have involved about 20 people in many cases.

        The utter irrelevance of UNITE Community branches within UNITE , apart from providing a secure voting bloc for McCluskey, and now his crony, Beckett, needs to be taken into account when Skwawkbox readers are about to get all hot under the collar about some claimed suspension of a Chair of one of these tiny, non-working, ‘Community’ branches.

        Sadly, for those not entranced by the ‘Beckett is the new Corbyn-clone Left saviour’ mirage , the disgraceful mangling of fact by Skwawkbox over the last few months – to big up the Left posturer, Beckett, and smear the Chair of the Peoples Assembly, Turner, has entirely destroyed its credibility as a reliable journalistic source for the Left. When, as is now all too likely, the ghastly Coyne soon sails past the three-way split Left vote to become the most right wing GS of a major union in generations, Skwawkbox will have had a significant role to play in this all too predictable disaster. The Left, eh – constantly re-enacting scenes from ‘Life of Brian’ !

    2. And as to Len, it has been clearly and universally established that he did NOT have to stand down when Coyne wanted him to, so give that a rest. Nothing would have been different in that contest if Len had stood down when Coyne said he should have.

      1. Kenburch, why should have Len stand down in 2017? Like Turner right now Len was the candidate with more nominations in term of branches and weight.

    3. SteveH I found your question pertinent so I have done a bit of digging the total number participating were 38. I have also heard that they weren’t concerns over Beckett’s supporters despite the thumping majority Beckett got at this branch

      1. Maria – Below is the account that Hilary gave on these pages about her Community Branch’s nomination meeting.

        hilary772013 28/05/2021 at 1:00 pm
        Bazza it was the same at my Unite community branch Beckett 8 Graham 5 some had to leave because of other commitments & it went on far too long off the top of my head we had 23 to start with so ten must have left the meeting no votes for Coyne and none for Turner. Hubby’s Unite EMS meeting is on 2nd June he’s going to vote for Beckett.

  2. Seems that Turner doesn’t just turn a blind eye to Starmer’s attrocious anti-democratic management of the party and suspension of his principled predecessor, he imitates him.

  3. This is truly appalling,. Let’s hope that Beckett as Unite head of legal services does something about it and gets to the bottom of it asap.
    To me It is a test as to whatever Beckett is serious or no about his promises to take on the establishment. I like how Beckett sounds but he sounds to good to be true.
    Beckett is left no doubt about it in my mind, but I see him as a bit of a demagogue telling people what they want to hear, with no much though as to how is he going to deliver on his promises.
    If Beckett cannot support a loyal supporter and get the Chair of this branch reinstated by the end of the week, then his credibility is going to suffer.

  4. All we need for full transparency is publication of each branch’s voting for the nominations, including number of votes for each candidate. It’s that easy.

  5. Why as Socialists do we care about who runs our Government and institutions? Surely, one of the reasons is so we can encourage them to exert whatever influence they have on barbaric regimes such as the one currently in place in Saudi Arabia, where children are jailed and then later executed.

    Countries such as China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, USA, Japan etc., have a veneer of civilisation but still carry out judicial murder of their own citizens.

  6. Today’s featured article by SWAWKBOX (SW) contains the description :
    “left favourite Howard Beckett”
    As a lifelong trade union activist, and a member of Unite (who does not need to polish his left credentials), I’m backing Turner all the way.
    Three candidates all claiming the left banner is a recipe for disaster in this contest.
    The left leadership of Unite is too important to be squandered in this three-way sectarian self-indulgence.

    1. Careful, johnsco1, your obvious sanity and clear statement of the bleeding obvious will NOT go down well on this delusional Beckett fanboy forum at all ! Expect much abuse , and demands to answer a questionnaire on your politics from the Beckett fanboys. Beckett is of course NOT the ‘Left favourite’ at all – but just Steve of Skwawkbox’s favourite (as a payback for financial assistance over that libel case), and the undoubted favourite of a mere relative handful of usually retired ultralefts in the tiny , and irrelevant, UNITE ‘Community’ branches !

      A Three way Left vote split will very likely result in the vicious Right Wing creature of Big Business and the corrupt Labour Right, Coyne, heading up one of our largest trades unions – VERY VERY SOON now .

  7. JP, forgive my ignorance, but I dont see how coyne can win if he has less than the 25% of nominations that’d give him an even chance with the other three candidates in a FPTP system.

    Unless coyne came (a very close) 2nd in a swathe of those branches that elected one of the others… In which case it would then disabuse everyone of the notion that unite is indeed a left-leaning union, especially in the (in what I see as rather unlikely) event should coyne get elected.

    As it is there are 1398 nominations in. coyne has a mere 198 of those. Around 14.6% (or 1 in 7) if that was to be mirrored by individual votes, coyne has as much chance of stammer becoming PM before the next millenium.

    Yes, I’m aware that some branches are larger than others. Yes, I’m aware that some didn’t vote for coyne’s nomination but who will vote for him come the election.

    But the same goes for the other three. And given the apathy of a lot of voters (Taking into consideration that Len only got the gig with something like 6% or what have ya of the bill) it’s Beckett who appears to be doing the most to drum up support amongst the ‘lazy’ or the ‘undecideds.’ I’ve seen bits and pieces about the other two ‘leftists’ … but coyne?

    Zilch, nowt, nada. It appears to me he thinks he has the support he enjoyed last time (I doubt it) an entitlement to the gig, and that canvassing is above him; his share is more or less guaranteed.

    I could of course, be very VERY wrong, but I just don’t see coyne to be the threat a lot of people make him out to be.

    …And if I was eligible, I’d still vote Beckett – even just to piss stammer & co off.

    As an aside – I’m not sure I like the ‘feck it – vote Beckett’ slogan…Should be: ‘Feck THEM** – vote Beckett’

    **The establishment, careerist carpetbaggers who are shitting themselves and trying to prevent him getting the gig…They’re not doing it for the good of you & me, I’ll bet.

    1. Toffee, no every branch in Unite has nominated. Unite has over three thousand branches and little more that over half of them have submitted nominations.

  8. Maybe a lot of the big branch Unite members are fed up having a leader who looks more interested in running the Labour Party than Unite? It may be a shock but a lot of people don’t think that fondly of Len.

    I’m not sure what people see in Beckett but the Subterranean Homesick Blues parody was a new low for me. If his votes matched his ego he’ll be the next GS for sure!

  9. Can’t say I’m fussed on Len meself.

    But if Beckett is gonna make life uncomfortable for the stammerites as he says he is (Haven’t heard the others say as much, and I don’t see the likes of the haggard pederast enabler hodge shrieking about them) then what’s not to like?

    1. Lundiel, are they offers? or an attempt to obfuscate?
      Since Beckett appears to be willing to stand down. Why he doesn’t stand down and then publicly back one of the two remaining candidates?
      For sure it would put pressure on the one that doesn’t gets Beckett’s backing to stand down, isn’t it?

      1. If they aren’t going to provide a breakdown of all the nomination votes then the very least they could do is publish the total number of individual member’s nomination votes that each candidate received.

      2. I don’t know. However, if a deal was reached it would play into Coyne and the media’s hands. Coyne knows he’ll lose so he wants to call foul.

  10. I personally don’t care if all four are on the ballot as long as the proceedings are straight and fair. So to expect anyone to drop out after a patently corruptly run nomination selection is farcical. I say again, publish the branch figures for the nomination process so we can see the truth. Beckett is so far the only one to publish his nomination figures.

      1. You’d have to follow his Twitter feed. Every nomination he won was recorded in real time.

      2. lundiel – Thanks, I’ve seen those but unfortunately Howard gives no indication of how many votes were cast. Although they carry the same weight there is a big difference between a <20 turnout at a community branch and the large turnout at an industrial branch.

    1. Agreed, baz. Let them all run. No deals, no nowt. All above board and transparent. I do t believe coyne has mustered enough support, but any deals done and it’s as good as guaranteed he’ll go squealing to the authorities… Again.

  11. Beckett’s the only individual I’ve seen for months take the reins and actually communicate basic principles and take the argument to the Right. I don’t know the other candidates at all. Nothing from them at all.
    I’m an ordinary member, in a workplace.

  12. Beckett is dragging too much baggage around now,and he will spend more time doing Westminster politics than Pay and conditions for the workforce.Turner will win whatever and can then carry on making a better deal for the workers,whilst Beckett can fill the vacant slot as leader of the opposition movement.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: