Shock successor for Red Len: Socialist Worker Party’s far-Left candidate Sharon Turner is tipped to seize control of powerful Unite union
- Sharon Graham is supposedly on course to win the Unite union leadership
- Ms Graham is backed by the Socialist Workers Party in her bid for position
- However, it will be a blow to outgoing leader of the union, Len McCluksey
- Mr McCluskey and the hard left have been campaigning for Steve Turner
A left-winger is on course to defy the odds and snatch the leadership of one of Britain’s most powerful unions.
Insiders said Sharon Graham, who was backed by the Socialist Workers Party, is on course to succeed Len McCluskey as general secretary of Unite.
However, although she is from the left, the result would be a blow for Mr McCluskey and the hard left who have been campaigning for former Militant member Steve Turner to take over the role.
Ms Graham is expected to work more closely with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer than Mr Turner would have done.
Insiders said Sharon Graham, who was backed by the Socialist Workers Party, is on course to succeed Len McCluskey as general secretary of Unite
She has said she accepts the Corbyn era is over and is seen as being more interested in workplace conditions than internal Labour Party politics.
The result will not be announced until tomorrow but sources said she was set to win by as many as 7,000 votes.
It is not yet known who will come third: Mr Turner or the centrist candidate, Gerard Coyne.
A spokesman for Ms Graham said: ‘As more and more votes are counted we are more and more confident that Sharon is going to win.
‘If that turns out to be the case this will be a truly historic victory.
Although she is from the left, the result would be a blow for Mr McCluskey and the hard left who have been campaigning for former Militant member Steve Turner to take over the role.
‘We have fought against the odds on all fronts. Unite members across the UK and Ireland have spoken and it looks like they have rallied, in their tens of thousands, to our demand that Unite should get back to the workplace and deliver what it says on the trade union tin – a relentless fight for jobs, pay and conditions.’
Unite is the country’s second largest union, and the biggest donor to the Labour Party.
It has been led for the last 10 years by Len McCluksey, often dubbed ‘Red Len’ for his hard right views.
Mr McCluskey was been an avid supporter of Jeremy Corbyn during his failed Labour leadership.
More than one million Unite members were eligible to vote in the contest.
However it is believed about 124,000 ballot papers were returned – a turnout of approximately 12 per cent.
If Ms Graham does succeed in her bid to seize control of Unite, she will become the union’s fist ever female general secretary.
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