Analysis Exclusive

‘Racist’ images lead to questions over fitness of another Graham-backed Unite candidate

Sam Shaw is standing for executive on Sharon Graham ticket, but images apparently mocking Muslim asylum seekers lead to anger in the latest major complaint against Graham and her ‘slate’

The fitness of another candidate for Unite’s executive council (EC) backed by the union’s general secretary Sharon Graham has been called into question after social media images emerged appearing to show LGBT+ seat hopeful Sam Shaw posing in a dinghy with people dressed in a mockery of asylum seekers – or potentially Muslim girl Shamima Begum, who has been refused entry to the UK after joining and then escaping ISIS in Syria:

Mr Shaw was contacted for comment on his published campaign email address and asked:

Mr Shaw,

I’ve received complaints that images such as those below make you unfit as a candidate for Unite’s EC and that they are racist and Islamophobic.

I’m also told that there was a clear-out of similarly offensive images from your social media before you announced you were standing. Please let me have any comments you wish to put on record about these issues no later than noon tomorrow (Fri 3 Feb).

No response had been received at the time of writing, almost twelve hours after the deadline.

The pro-Graham slate of candidates has been accused of accepting candidates ineligible to stand because they do not represent Unite members in a workplace, again without adequate response from the candidates or the union.

Shaw is also not the first pro-Graham candidate to be accused of racism. Skwawkbox exclusively revealed that the union, under its current general secretary, had agreed with complainants that at least one post by Tony Seaman, a close ally of Sharon Graham, was racist – but the regime brushed the complaint under the carpet to the outrage of the branches that had lodged complaints about it.

Unite has consistently refused to respond directly to questions about these matters, along with others as serious as Graham’s alleged attempts to have evidence destroyed in bullying and sexism complaints against her husband, who was subsequently appointed to a senior position in her team, outside the union’s usual approval procedure, despite a litany of complaints from union staff about his conduct.

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