Len McCluskey re-elected as Unite union general secretary

Jon Stone
Len McCluskey addresses delegates at the 2016 Labour party conference in Liverpool: Getty

Len McCluskey has been re-elected as general secretary of the Unite trade union, it has been announced.

Mr McCluskey, an ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, beat main challenger Gerard Coyne, who was challenging him for the leadership of Britain's biggest trade union.

The general secretary narrowly retained his post in a close race, with 59,067 votes versus Mr Coyne's 53,544.

Ian Allinson, the third placed candidate in the election, won 17,143 votes. Turnout in the election was just over 12 per cent.

Voting in the contest ended on Wednesday. Mr McCluskey can now stay in post at the trade union until 2022, should he choose to do so.

Unite acting general secretary Gail Cartmail said the union now had to "pull together" and work for a Labour victory at the coming 8 June general election.

“I congratulate Len McCluskey on his victory and would urge the entire union to pull together in the interests of our members, and not least to work for a Labour victory in the General Election," she said.

“The turnout in this important election can give no cause for satisfaction and, while the tone of the campaign will not have helped, the underlying reason remains the archaic and expensive balloting system imposed on trade unions by law.

“The sooner we can move to secure and secret workplace and online voting the better for union democracy.”

As polls closed, Mr Coyne was suspended from his position as a regional union official in the West Midlands for allegedly "bringing the union into disrepute".

Mr Coyne may now be considering a legal challenge to the election result, according to Sky News.

The results of the elections for Unite's executive council, which was being elected at the same time, have not yet been counted.

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