A challenger for the leadership of Britain’s largest trade union has condemned the right wing politics of the English Defence League in the wake of claims an EDL supporter distributed his leaflets outside Ellesmere Port's Vauxhall Motors plant.
Gerard Coyne, who is taking on UNITE’s incumbent general secretary Len McCluskey, rejected the politics of the EDL describing it as ‘a racist organisation’ when interviewed by John Humphrys on Radio 4’s Today programme.
Mr Humphrys asked him: “What would you say about the claim that Roy Higginson – who’s an administrator apparently at the EDL according to his Facebook page – he’s posted pictures of himself giving out your campaign material outside Ellesmere Port plant?”
Mr Coyne responded: “That may be the case that he received material and put it out. I do not support the politics of the EDL. It’s a racist organisation and I have called on the union to investigate and expel that individual if indeed he is a member of UNITE because I don’t believe we should allow the politics of hate inside our organisation.”
Mr Higginson, from Ellesmere Port, would now appear to have removed the photographs in question from his Facebook page but has shared a ‘Vote Gerard Coyne’ post on his time-line.
General secretary Len McCluskey tendered his resignation to the Unite executive council last year but announced he would stand as a candidate.
Mr McCluskey was elected in 2013 to serve a five-year term; but his backers hope the move will allow him to stay in post until the next general election.
A Jeremy Corbyn supporter, the outcome of the election could have significant repercussions for the future direction of the Labour Party.
Ballots for both the post of general secretary and executive council (EC) members are taking place at the same time. Voting commenced on March 27 and will conclude on April 28.