Unite leadership candidate suspended from job

A man who is challenging to become the leader of the UK's biggest trade union has been suspended from his job as a regional official during the election process.

Turnout: 12.2 per cent.

Mr McCluskey's principal opponent, Gerard Coyne, had argued Unite should stop "playing Westminster politics" and " failed to collect a penny back" from its donations to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership contests.

He also infuriated Mr McCluskey during the leadership contest by accusing him of using union funds to purchase a flat.

Gerard Coyne, now the West Midlands secretary for the Unite union, is challenging Len McCluskey for the general secretary job. If Coyne had won, he would have piled pressure on the Labour leader from the off - particularly if the party does as badly in the snap election as the polls are suggesting.

The trade union is Labour's biggest donor and McCluskey has been a keen supporter of Corbyn (even if that backing waned slightly recently).

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On Thursday Mr Coyne was suspended from his role as Unite's West Midlands Regional Secretary, pending an investigation into "certain issues" according to an email sent to Unite members and staff in the area.

The move has been confirmed by his spokesman, although Unite has so far made no comment.

During the fraught campaign, Len McCluskey savaged his rival for being too close to a "cabal" of West Midlands MPs including onetime pal, Labour deputy leader Tom Watson.

Tony Burke, Unite's assistant general secretary, said he was pleased with the result, adding: "I have fought in many union elections over 40 years - this was the vilest I have ever witnessed".

The suspension came just hours after the ballot was closed on Wednesday afternoon, amid reports that the result was extremely close.

'The investigation is, of course, being conducted under procedure, and it should not be assumed that any offence has necessarily been committed.

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