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Unite the union flag

Unite the union flag. Photo: Andrew Skudder / Unite the union / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0, license linked at bottom of article

Howard Beckett's withdrawal brings the left one step closer to a united candidate, essential to win the election in Unite.

The decision by Howard Beckett to pull out of the election for general secretary of Unite is very welcome. His announcement correctly points out that building Unite as a fighting union ‘requires the unity of the left in our union’. We welcome, too, Steve Turner's acceptance of a number of Beckett's campaigning issues.

Beckett’s withdrawal and his endorsement of Steve Turner is one step towards achieving a Unity candidate for the left. This is essential, as splitting the left vote runs the grave risk of handing victory to the right-wing candidate Gerard Coyne. If Coyne were to be elected he would push back against Unite's normal practice of supporting members taking action and end its support for a number of campaigns. A Coyne victory would be a profound defeat for the left right across the labour movement. We urge Sharon Graham to follow Howard Beckett’s example and withdraw from the election in order to maximise the chances of a left victory.

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