Friday, 9 December 2016

Len McCluskey manoeuvres to hang-on till 2020

LEN McCluskey, the boss of the UK's biggest union Unite, has resigned triggering a leadership election, but he will fight to be re-elected next April.
McCluskey’s present five-year term is to end in 2018, so he is effectively bringing the election forward a year.  The 66-year-old would have come under pressure to retire if he had stayed until the end of the scheduled term.
The aim by McCluskey and his backers is to keep control of the union and retain political influence in the Labour Party.  Unite has just under one and half union members and has long propped-up the Labour Party's finances.
Gerard Coyne, Unite’s regional secretary for the West Midlands, is expected to stand against McCluskey.  Bro. Coyne is seen as well to the right of McCluskey. 
Strictly Come Dancing star, Ed Balls in the Huffington Post has said that defeat of McCluskey in the Unite General Secretary election would be a 'staging post' on a route to giving Labour MPs and unions more of a say over the party’s leadership rules.
Unite remains one of Labour’s biggest donors and its members have key votes on the party’s ruling National Executive Committee, which decides on leadership rules.
Mr. Balls told Paul Waugh of Huff Post: 
'Now that’s a problem [for the Labour Party] when that’s the attitude of the largest trade union.  He obviously will feel differently now that Jeremy Corbyn is leader but that’s partly because Jeremy Corbyn is being supported by many people who’ve not been in the Labour party for a very long time.
If McCluskey wins, he will almost certainly be Unite leader up until the 2020 general election, strengthening both his own position and that of Corbyn. 
In a statement issued through the union, McCluskey said:
'I intend to be a candidate in the upcoming general secretary election and to submit my record to the vote of Unite members. This will be an election in which Unite will be under unprecedented scrutiny, particularly from our enemies.
'It is vital that in this period there is no lack of continuity in service or support to our membership, and that the full integrity of our procedures is not only protected, but seen to be protected.'
The current assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail, will act as leader for the election period, a move McCluskey said would ensure 'that, while I am a candidate for re-election, the business of Unite remains properly managed'.  

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