Turnout low in Unite general secretary election and result ;neck and neck’ between Graham and Turner
According to a good half dozen credible sources, Unite general secretary candidate Steve Turner’s camp is privately admitting that they their campaign did not deliver and asking a single question: has Howard Beckett delivered enough votes to get Turner over the line?
Beckett dropped out of the election to condense the contest and asked his supporters to back Turner, but many said that they would vote either reluctantly or not at all. Skwawkbox understands that Beckett’s inner circle did dutifully cast their votes in Turner’s favour.
Low turnout in the contest – 10-11%, down 10-20,000 votes from even the low numbers of the 2017 election – supports Skwawkbox’s prediction that many Beckett supporters would simply abstain, rather than feel manipulated into voting for a candidate that didn’t inspire them – as happened in the Labour leadership contest last year.
Now, after ebullience at the weekend the confidence of Turner’s campaign is said to be muted, with his allies briefing that the contest is ‘neck-and-neck’ and the social media output from some involved in the campaign has become increasingly tetchy. Union sources have said that in a vote-sampling yesterday, with 8,000 randomly-selected votes spread across 22 tables, Graham was narrowly ahead on every one and is now the bookies’ favourite to win.
With the winning vote total likely to be in the low-mid 40,000s, the extent to which Beckett supporters moved behind Turner will be decisive in the result. Beckett’s dominance in Scotland, Ireland and Wales – and among 20,000 politically-engaged Unite Community members who will have turned out at a higher level than the average – means that if Turner does manage to get over the line, he will owe his victory to the man who dropped out for the sake of the movement.
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