A senior trade unionist has been suspended by Labour following a tweet about home secretary Priti Patel.
Unite’s assistant general secretary Howard Beckett – who is standing for the leadership of the major union tweeted:
“Priti Patel should be deported, not refugees. She can go along with anyone else who supports institutional racism.
“She is disgusting.”.
Beckett made the remarks following protests in Glasgow over the detention of two men by Border Force officials.
Beckett deleted his tweet and apologised for the wording:
He later said: “Priti Patel message on Eid al Fitr is to deport Muslim refugees. Those who have been forced to flee war zones.
“We are seeing appalling institutional racism again and again from the supposed pillars of the British elite.
“Our society should have no place for racism, at all.
“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”.
“I apologise unreservedly to Priti Patel. No one should be deported.”
While many people recognised the apology was needed, Novara‘s Ash Sarkar highlighted that while there were issues with the tweet, the Labour Party isn’t treating people equally over allegations of racism:
I criticised Howard Beckett at the time, directly and publicly. But Beckett apologised and has been suspended, while others remain in the party who have never shown contrition for egregious examples of racism.
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) May 14, 2021
THIS. IS. IT. https://t.co/h0bLA7s1h1
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) May 14, 2021
Support for Beckett
But people have also been taking to social media to express their support for Beckett. The Canary‘s editor at large, Kerry-Anne Mendoza summed up the situation:
If you’re backing the anti-immigrant Home Secretary, you’re not the anti-racist.@BeckettUnite is an ally and I’m damned if we’re letting this happen again.
— Kerry-Anne Mendoza 🏳️🌈 (@TheMendozaWoman) May 14, 2021
Beckett's tweet was:
– based on Priti Patel's actions, not race#stopthepurge
This is weaponisation of the racism smear for factional purposes. This outrage is artificial and manufactured.#FordeReport
— Sotto Voce 2020 (@sotto_voce_2020) May 14, 2021
Palestinians being buried and migrants being deported on the daily and the swiftest Labour has moved all year was cuz of "deport Priti Patel". That's all you need to know about why this furore is bullshit & you so called "white allies" are doing the most to substantiate it.
— Shanice 😈 (@Shanice_OM) May 14, 2021
And as Ben Smoke also pointed out:
if nothing else i guess congratulations to the labour party for managing to take one of the most inspiring and incredible moments of community and direct action we've seen in forever and turning it into another pathetic factional war. all very predictable and petty.
— Ben Smoke (@bencsmoke) May 14, 2021
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?