Howard Beckett

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(trade unionist)
Howard Beckett.jpg
UK labour leader

Howard Beckett is Assistant General Secretary for Politics & Legal of Unite the Union and member of the Labour Party's National Executive Committee. He was a candidate to succeed Unite's General Secretary, Len McCluskey,[1] who is due to stand down in 2021 but, on 18 June 2021, withdrew his candidature in support of Assistant General Secretary Steve Turner's becoming Unite’s next General Secretary.[2]

Suspended by Labour

On 13 May 2021, following an unsuccessful attempt by the Home Office to deport two asylum seekers in Glasgow, Howard Beckett tweeted:

Priti Patel should be deported, not refugees. She can go along with anyone else who supports institutional racism. She is disgusting.”

Beckett deleted the tweet 30 minutes later, and told Sky News:

“I certainly didn’t mean it to be taken literally. The idea that I would think that a Home Secretary would or should be deported, I’m against all forms of deportation.
“Obviously, what I was trying to do was highlight the fact that Priti Patel was taking a position from elitism and privilege, one that is racist.
“This is the state carrying out racist legislation, and I wanted to highlight that. And obviously, I regret the words that were used. Some people read it in the literal context and I apologise for those words.”

Beckett defended the wider aim of what he had said:

“The intention of the tweet was to draw to the attention of the wider public what is going on right now in society, and that is that we are seeing institutionalised racism become the norm. We have to call that out.”

A Labour statement on Thursday evening said: “The Labour Party takes these allegations extremely seriously and appropriate action will be taken.” It was later reported that he had been suspended.[3]

Berating Keir Starmer

NEC member forensically destroys Keir Starmer

On 22 November 2020, Labour Grassroots published a video of Howard Beckett in which he berates Keir Starmer for attacking Jeremy Corbyn during a time of national crisis, and goes on to clear up a number of false attack lines on Labour's former leader and on the NEC itself.

Beckett was filmed in interview with Crispin Flintoff on the Not the Andrew Marr Show.[4]