Former union bosses back Gerard Coyne over Len McCluskey in Unite contest

Posted On: 
6th April 2017

Three former union bosses have endorsed Gerard Coyne as he attempts to replace Len McCluskey as the leader of Unite. 

Gerard Coyne is attempting to replace Len McCluskey as Unite's general secretary
Credit: 
PA Images

Roger Lyons, Bill Morris and Margaret Prosser said it was time for Mr McCluskey, who is seeking his third term as general secretary of the UK’s largest union, to “make way” for the new generation.

In an open letter to the Guardian, they said it was “essential” that unions were able to “exert the maximum industrial strength”.

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“Our labour movement always needs to be engaged in renewal and in searching out new ideas and new methods to advance its aims,” they write.  

“Gerard Coyne is the candidate who can do most to deliver new ideas and reinvigorate our movement at a supremely difficult moment.

“We need union leadership that is first and foremost there for the members, providing a strong voice in the public arena on the issues that matter to them.

“There comes a time when all trade union officials must make way for their successor generation and we believe that time has come for Len McCluskey.”

Mr Lyons and Lord Morris used to lead two unions that have since become part of Unite, while Baroness Prosser was the president of the TUC.

Mr McCluskey and Mr Coyne have been engaged in a bad-tempered campaign, with the incumbent accusing his rival of being an “agent of the right wing” while Mr Coyne branded Mr McCluskey and his ally Jeremy Corbyn “yesterday’s men”.