Unite leadership candidate Howard Beckett in row over call to use defense money on traveler sites

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United union leader Howard Beckett calls for multi-billion dollar UK defense budget to pay for gypsy and traveler sites

  • Howard Beckett runs to succeed Len McCluskey as Unite . general secretary
  • He welcomed the endorsement of Labor Black Socialists on Twitter
  • Groups said he wanted to spend defense money on making traveler sites ‘available’

A candidate for leadership of one of Britain’s largest unions has sparked a stir over suggestions that Britain’s defense budget should be diverted to pay for gypsy and traveler sites.

Howard Beckett is a candidate to succeed Len McCluskey as general secretary of Unite, which serves thousands of defense personnel.

But he faced backlash after his supporters claimed he would try to cut military spending, putting jobs at risk.

In a statement announcing it would support Beckett’s candidacy, the Labor Black Socialists campaign group said: “He believes in a foreign policy that promotes peace, not war.

“The government has 143 military bases in 42 countries – money that can be spent on strengthening flood defenses, making sites available for Gypsy, Roma and traveler communities, supporting youth within communities, supporting women suffering from domestic violence. and gender-based violence. ‘

Beckett warmly welcomed the group’s support, writing on Twitter: “The support from Labor Black Socialists is inspiring.”

Howard Beckett is a candidate to succeed Len McCluskey as general secretary of Unite, which has thousands of defense officials.

Howard Beckett is a candidate to succeed Len McCluskey as general secretary of Unite, which serves thousands of defense personnel.

But he faced backlash after his supporters claimed he would try to cut military spending, putting jobs at risk.  Pictured is the UK-made HMS Prince of Wales

But he faced backlash after his supporters claimed he would try to cut military spending, putting jobs at risk.  Pictured is the UK-made HMS Prince of Wales

But he faced backlash after his supporters claimed he would try to cut military spending, putting jobs at risk. Pictured is the UK-made HMS Prince of Wales

Travelers were banned from the 'Queen's Front Yard' on Tuesday after parking up to 30 caravans and motorhomes just a stone's throw from Windsor Castle.

Travelers were banned from the 'Queen's Front Yard' on Tuesday after parking up to 30 caravans and motorhomes just a stone's throw from Windsor Castle.

Travelers were banned from the ‘Queen’s Front Yard’ on Tuesday after parking up to 30 caravans and motorhomes just a stone’s throw from Windsor Castle.

When contacted by the Mail yesterday, he declined to distance himself from their claims that he believes the defense budget could be used to fund gypsy and traveler sites instead. When asked whether Mr Beckett agreed, his spokesman declined to comment.

Former Defense Secretary Kevan Jones said last night the comments would come as a surprise to Unite members who work in the defense industry.

He said: ‘Thousands of Unite members play a vital role in supporting the defense of our country. I think they are taking a vague stance on this suggestion from someone whose position is funded by their union subscriptions.”

Beckett faced controversy last month after calling for the expulsion of Home Secretary Priti Patel, the country’s top ethnic minority politician.

Amid protests in Glasgow over the detention of two men by Border Guard officials during Eid, he wrote: 'Priti Patel must be deported, not refugees'.

Amid protests in Glasgow over the detention of two men by Border Guard officials during Eid, he wrote: 'Priti Patel must be deported, not refugees'.

Amid protests in Glasgow over the detention of two men by Border Guard officials during Eid, he wrote: ‘Priti Patel must be deported, not refugees’.

He posted on Twitter: ‘Priti Patel should be deported, not refugees. She can go along with anyone who supports institutional racism. She’s disgusting.’

Amid widespread criticism of his comments, Mr Beckett, who is a member of the ruling Labor National Executive Committee, was banned from the party.

Mr Beckett is Mr McCluskey’s next lieutenant and is currently Assistant Secretary General. Mr McCluskey has announced that he will retire later this year after more than a decade at the helm. The match to replace him is expected to be completed by the end of August.

The Daily Mail revealed earlier this year that Mr Beckett, who is demanding a wealth tax to pay for the pandemic, has his own real estate empire.

He owns at least three properties, including a flat in Bloomsbury, central London, bought six years ago for £640,000 without a mortgage.

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