A RIGHTWINGER who challenged Len McCluskey for the leadership of Unite has been sacked by the union, he said yesterday.
Unite West Midlands secretary Gerard Coyne claimed he had been disciplined for an “alleged technical data breach” which had “damaged Unite-Labour Party relations.”
Mr McCluskey defeated Mr Coyne, a longstanding ally of Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, by 59,067 votes to 53,544. Mr Coyne is now challenging the result with the certification officer, the quasi-judicial state official who presides over such disputes.
Mr Coyne was fiercely critical of the Labour Party and Unite leaderships during his campaign. “All that McCluskey, Corbyn and the rest are ever going to achieve is to render the Labour Party unelectable and keep the Conservatives in power far into the future,” he wrote in an article.
During the election, Unite’s then-acting general secretary Gail Cartmail suspended a £10,000 donation to Labour candidate Sion Simon’s campaign to be mayor of Birmingham.
She said the decision was taken due to “overwhelming evidence” that the Simon and Coyne campaigns had taken part in “the shared use of Labour Party membership data.”
Mr Coyne was suspended, allegedly over a data breach, after the ballot closed.
Announcing his dismissal in a statement to the press yesterday, Mr Coyne said: ““I am deeply disappointed but not surprised at my dismissal. When you are in a kangaroo court, you are rarely surprised by the outcome.
“This preposterous trumped-up charge has been used to indict me — even though the returning officer from Electoral Reform Services had already ruled that there was no breach of the rules.”
A Unite spokesman said: “The decision is subject to a right of appeal to Unite’s executive council, and the union will be offering no further comment on the matter.”