Dear on course to be new NUJ general secretary

Jeremy Dear, national organiser for newspapers and agencies, will be the new general secretary of the NUJ if a ballot count on Wednesday is ratified by the union’s executive council.

Dear collected 3,427 votes ahead of nearest rival Bernie Corbett, with 2,127. Next came John Fray, then Jake Ecclestone and lastly Kevin Cooper.

The count went ahead this week despite a legal challenge from Ecclestone. His lawyers wrote to the NUJ asking it to declare the election null and void after one candidate was dropped because he was found to be a lapsed member of the union.

Chris Youett withdrew after it was discovered he was out of benefit. But his name had been included on the ballot paper and the NUJ decided that members who voted for Youett should have their second choice of candidate upgraded to first.

Otherwise, said NUJ spokesman Tim Gopsill, those voters would be disenfranchised.

Ecclestone’s lawyer, Alan Julyan of Speechley Bircham, wrote to the NUJ to ask what action was taken to check the eligibility of Youett and other candidates. He claimed that in allowing Youett to run when he was not eligible, the NUJ had interfered in the election unlawfully and asked the union to declare the election null and void.

Ecclestone said: "One of the reasons I’ve stood in this election is to make a protest about the way rules are broken in the NUJ and once again they appear to have been quite cynically broken."

By Jean Morgan

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