Union boss in ‘deport Priti Patel’ race row: Unite leadership hopeful slammed over call for Home Secretary to be kicked out of the country ‘instead of refugees’ amid Glasgow immigration stand-off
- Howard Beckett tweeted calling for Home Secretary Priti Patel to be deported
- He is in the running to succeed Len McCluskey as general secretary of Unite
- Social media users accused him of racism and warned it ‘sounded like the BNP’
A leadership candidate for one of Britain’s biggest trade unions was accused of racism last night after he called for Priti Patel to be deported.
Howard Beckett is running to succeed Len McCluskey as general secretary of Unite.
In a message posted on Twitter yesterday, he called for the Home Secretary, Britain’s most senior ethnic minority politician, to be kicked out.
Howard Beckett (centre) is running to succeed Len McCluskey as general secretary of Unite
The tweet, in response to an attempt to deport two asylum seekers in Glasgow, read: ‘Priti Patel should be deported, not refugees. She can go along with anyone else who supports institutional racism. She is disgusting.’
Beckett called Priti Patel (pictured) ‘disgusting’ in the tweet
It prompted an immediate backlash, with social media users telling Mr Beckett it was ‘racist’ and warning that his remark ‘sounded like the BNP’.
Gurinder Singh Josan, a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee who is also a Unite member, tweeted: ‘Howard showing his true colours?
‘I totally disagree on pretty much everything with Priti Patel but this is simply dog whistle racism against a woman of colour. Delete this now!’
Mr Beckett initially refused to back down, arguing that his tweet was ‘about society being able to do without anyone who promotes racism’.
However, he removed it last night, writing: ‘I’m very sorry for my earlier tweet. I was angry to see Muslim refugees being deported on the morning of Eid Al Fitr.’
Miss Patel was born in London after her parents came to Britain from Uganda in the 1960s. Mr Beckett is the closest lieutenant to the outgoing Mr McCluskey and is currently assistant general secretary.
The row came after demonstrators in Glasgow prevented Border Force officials from detaining two Indian nationals
The row came after demonstrators in Glasgow prevented Border Force officials from detaining two Indian nationals yesterday.
The men, suspected of ‘immigration offences’, were released after hundreds of protesters surrounded the van in which they were being held in a day-long stand-off.