Beckett to blow member funds

McCluskey's continuity candidate has plans to throw millions of members’ money at vanity projects and hard-left politics

After splashing millions on a poorly managed project to build a luxury hotel in inner city Birmingham, Unite’s outgoing General Secretary is backing Howard Beckett as his successor.

Like McCluskey, Beckett has plans to throw millions of members’ money at vanity projects and hard-left politics.

Top of his list would be an attempt to produce an online TV propaganda channel to rival the BBC and Sky News. That would be followed by a harebrained attempt to prove in court – where lawyers charge by the hour – that Boris Johnson deliberately sought the deaths of the 150,000 people who tragically died from Covid in the U.K.

Not only would such a court case have less chance of succeeding than Elvis being found on the Moon – at a cost similar to a lunar mission – it would almost certainly provide a distraction from the serious work needed to find out how and why government policy failed so disastrously and left so many families grieving.

Legal experts have said that Howard’s claim that the case could proceed through a public inquiry is far-fetched and therefore the only feasible route would be a private prosecution. This would be highly expensive with almost zero chance of success. Any legal case brought against the government for murder would have to prove that Boris Johnson had the intent to personally fatally infect 150,000 people. Something that any prosecution would find it very difficult to show.

The backdrop to new concerns about Beckett’s proposed use of members’ money is Unite’s past spending on legal firms with links to people expelled from Labour for anti-Semitism. As members prepare to vote on who will replace the outgoing Len McCluskey as general secretary of Unite, Beckett is coming under increasing scrutiny as he has been head of Unite legal since 2011.

Last year, during an interview for The Canary, Kerry Ann Mendoza, a non-Labour member who has previously made anti-Semitic statements, thanked Beckett for his and Unite’s help in defending Labour members accused of anti-Semitism. Mendoza also said that everyone knows “what side of the battle [Beckett] was on”.

Grassroots members have long been frustrated that rather than facing up to the huge inequalities in the workplace Covid is exposing, the current Unite leadership, including Howard Beckett, seems to be more interested in wasting millions of pounds in legal cases that either have little chance of success or any relevance to the union.

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