Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Coyne’

Unite Amicus election results in full, and what happens next

Saturday 7 March 2009

Derek Simpson (pic: Martin Rathfelder)hicksresultKevin Coyne

Please credit me if you use any of this report, thanks. I’ll be adding to it as information comes in.

The votes have been counted, and here are the results I’ve received, unconfirmed as yet by Unite the Union or Electoral Reform Services:

Derek Simpson 60,048 – 37.85%

Jerry Hicks 39,307 – 24.84%

Kevin Coyne 30,603 – 19.34%

Paul Reuter 28,283 – 17.87%

Total valid votes: 158,241 (approximately 12.9% of Amicus membership)

Spoilt ballots: unknown 1031

Initial reaction: “I’m elated,” said Jerry Hicks when I rang him at half past two today. Elated, of course, by the fact that he has placed second behind Derek Simpson. Six months ago, he likes to say, no-one gave him a chance.

“I finished second on the back of being told I had lied, and that Simpson was the honest broker”.

Jerry said he would now discuss with his supporters whether to complain to the Certification Officer over the conduct of the election. Kevin Coyne has already complained to the CO over Simpson’s letter. “I can’t possibly think it’s been free and fair”, Hicks added.

He put the “very poor turnout” down to discontent in the union. I don’t know how many unspoilt ballots there were but turnout seems to have been no more than 20%.

I must say, I expected more turnout for such a high-profile election. It remains to be seen what the Certification Officer says…

Update: I haven’t got through to him yet, but it seems Coyne won’t be contesting the result according to the post on his website. In that case, the only possible new threat to Simpson’s continued reign can come from Jerry Hicks.

This result will surprise some in Unite. Coyne came third despite coming second in the nomination round, whereas Reuter’s fourth place confirms his low nominations and relatively low profile.

According to Coyne there were only 1031 spoilt ballots, so less than 15% of Amicus voted. A shockingly low turnout, except that union elections always suffer from low turnouts.

The FT’s Jim Pickard is saying that Labour ministers are relieved at this result, and that Tony Woodley is seen as less loyal to the Labour government. He’s not wrong.

Cruddas helps Kevin Coyne’s Amicus campaign (without supporting it)

Sunday 8 February 2009

Jon Cruddas and Kevin Coyne at Birmingham, 7 February 2009Yesterday Kevin Coyne, self-proclaimed frontrunner in the Unite Amicus general secretary campaign (see previous post for more info) held a rally for his supporters in the centre of Birmingham, which I attended. The most interesting thing from a journalist’s point of view wasn’t the speech Coyne gave – strong though it was in denouncing Derek Simpson as “greedy” and unscrupulous – but in the familiar rubicund-faced,  rumpled-coated figure who arrived after the speech and made his way to the front during the Q&A session.

It wasn’t, was it? I put my glasses on. It was! Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas. By coincidence, he was in town to attend a meeting of anti-far-right activist group Searchlight, and dropped in to talk about the recent wildcat strikes (see below, again) and the threat of the BNP. It was an interesting, witty speech and went down well. Afterwards he took questions from the audience of about 60 people.

He also posed for a photo shaking Coyne’s hand – perhaps soon to appear on the campaign website.

Coyne’s supporters must be delighted. Cruddas hasn’t actually endorsed the Coyne campaign – he told me so today – but an appearance from this well-liked centre-left MP will surely do him good. Laurence Faircloth was attracting support from moderate Labour lefties; now he’s dropped out, there’s less diversity of policies. Coyne’s critics have sought to paint him as too right-wing. If I were him and I wanted to attract the centre-left vote, this is precisely the tactic I’d want to employ.

In my last Unite post, I suggested Labour MPs were considering whether to support Simpson, as Charlie Whelan would like, or someone else. I still think that’s true.

P.S. Cruddas also said he’d be happy to attend other candidates’ rallies if invited. Jerry, I know you support Respect Renewal – but if you’re reading – now’s your chance!