Labour suspends union boss after “offensive” tweet about Priti Patel

Howard Beckett

Labour has suspended a leading trade union member after he posted an “offensive” tweet about Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Howard Beckett – Unite’s assistant general secretary – wrote:

“Priti Patel should be deported, not refugees.

“She can go along with anyone else who supports institutional racism.

“She is disgusting.”

The post was at once condemned by both Tory and Labour MPs.

It was quickly removed from Twitter.

Labour MP Chris Bryant said:

“This is vile.

“This should play no part in Labour – or in British politics.”

And Tory MP Steve Baker said it was “an extraordinary, absolutely intolerable remark” which must have a “robust response” from Labour.

Mr Beckett said: “I’m very sorry for my earlier tweet.

“I was angry to see Muslim Refugees being deported on the morning of Eid al Fitr.”

He said his earlier message was “never intended to be literal” and “the wording was wrong” and “offensive”.

He also apologised “unreservedly” to Ms Patel.

He is in the running to succeed Len McCluskey as Unite’s general secretary.

About the Author

Philip Braund spent 16 years at the Daily Mirror as a reporter and news editor before moving to ITV. He was the series producer of the ground-breaking investigation programme The Cook Report, Managing Editor at ITV’s Millbank Studios, and Head of News at ITV Central. He has won national and regional Royal Television Society awards for documentaries.