UK Politics

Gerard Coyne sacked by Unite as West Midlands secretary

Gerard Coyne Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Coyne says he faced seven charges against him in the disciplinary proceedings

Gerard Coyne, who lost the Unite leadership battle to Len McCluskey - has been sacked as the union's West Midlands regional secretary.

Mr Coyne said he was "deeply disappointed, but not surprised" by his dismissal, which he says he was notified of by email.

He was suspended in April after accusations of bringing Unite into disrepute.

Mr Coyne said he would appeal against the decision.

Mr Coyne said he faced seven charges at a disciplinary hearing but three were thrown out before it got under way and three more were dismissed in the final hearing.

The seventh charge, he said, related to an alleged technical data breach, which was claimed to have damaged the relationship between Unite and the Labour Party.

"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," Mr Coyne added.

During the proceedings, he said "no complaint was raised" about the way he carried out the role in the 16 years he held it.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Len McCluskey was reelected in the Unite leadership contest in April

But, he says he was told union rules required his role to be "the general secretary's representative in the region".

"It was implied that, because of the way I criticised Len McCluskey during the campaign, I could not fulfil that role," he added.

"It was always clear to me that the charges were nothing more than a stitch-up. My real 'crime' was having the audacity to challenge Mr McCluskey in the General Secretary election that he called unnecessarily," he added.

"It is a public warning to any member of Unite's staff who is thinking of challenging the way the McCluskey gang run the union: step out of line and you will be out of a job. Political dissent is not tolerated inside Unite."

A spokesman for the union 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."

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