Saturday, December 12, 2015
Dave Prentis failed to withdraw misleading claim of support from Jeremy Corbyn
Dave Prentis, whose scandal hit campaign for re-election as UNISON General Secretary is covered in the latest edition of Private Eye (shome mistake surely?) claimed on his election campaign twitter feed on 7 September to have the support of (then obviously soon to be elected) Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn (if the link above doesn't work because the Prentis camp have taken down the tweet from their twitter feed I can publish a screen shot of the tweet - which can still be read online today, 12 December).
Dave Prentis published a complimentary statement which Jeremy Corbyn had made about him, unrelated to the election, which had then just commenced. His campaign twitter feed then tweeted "thank you Jeremy. Your support is very much appreciated."
Such a tweet (from "@electprentis") was obviously intended to convey the impression of endorsement of the Prentis candidacy by the soon-to-be Labour Leader, whose candidacy UNISON had supported.
On 18 November Jeremy Corbyn made clear - in a statement to UNISON which the Union has refused to publish - that he had endorsed no candidate in the election for UNISON General Secretary.
Dave Prentis was aware of this statement from Jeremy Corbyn (and of the refusal of his request that UNISON publish it). At no point before the ballot closed did Dave or his supporters take down their tweet or retract the very obvious implication of endorsement.
All of the candidates sought to associate themselves in one way or another with the Corbyn magic. Dave Prentis may not have been the only one to over step the mark by seeking to imply an endorsement (another candidate copied exactly the style and design of Corbyn's campaign literature), but he was certainly the first.
Jeremy Corbyn didn't put a foot wrong in relation to the UNISON General Secretary election (he did not take sides in any way). Corbyn's enemies in the movement may use decisions taken by candidates in the UNISON election to attack his leadership. All such attacks will be unjustified and ill-judged - and anyone who cares about the interests of UNISON members will defend the first Labour Leader in UNISON's history who stands for all that our Union stands for.
Dave Prentis and his supporters certainly have done many things which breach UNISON Rules, and it is now up to Electoral Reform Services to decide whether to sully their own reputation by association with such behaviour.
It's not too late for Dave Prentis to disavow the public claim (made on his behalf) that Jeremy Corbyn had endorsed his campaign - and it's not too late for him to apologise to Jeremy, and UNISON members, for this.
Over to you Dave...
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.