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13 December 2016

Gerard Coyne confirms bid to unseat Unite’s Len McCluskey

A new leader of the UK's biggest trade union could change the Labour party too. 

By Julia Rampen

Gerard Coyne is launching a bid to unseat Len McCluskey (pictured) as head of the UK’s largest union, Unite. 

The rival leadership candidate, who is Unite’s regional secretary in the West Midlands, set out his bid to be General Secretary in a Facebook post.

In contrast to Len McCluskey’s very public backing for the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, he is viewed as a moderate and a Corbynsceptic.

In his statement, Coyne said: “My priority is making a real difference for you rather than playing Westminster power games. 

“It’s time we changed the union to reflect our members’ priorities. A union that puts your concerns first to achieve decent treatment, safety and security at work, and better living standards for you and your family. With your help, we can make it happen.”

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McCluskey has been outspoken in his support for Corbyn, even saying that disloyal MPs facing deselection were “asking for it“. 

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Unite is not only the nation’s biggest trade union, but the largest affiliate to the Labour party and its leadership election reflects the wider tensions in the labour movement. 

In turn, the Unite leadership can influence Labour party decisions on candidates and internal rules, as Stephen explains here