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Election rules can be better

I write with regard to the letter from Terry Bladen, past president of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (TES, November 5).

Terry asks me why, as a prospective candidate in the NASUWT general secretary election, I had not complained previously and proposed a change in the rules before the election. I hadn't given it one thought until Eamonn O'Kane died, and was unaware that the rules required 25 association nominations. It is not a question of not accepting the rules. It is a question of saying that I believe they could be better.

I did, of course, know that Brian Williams (with one nomination) had stood against Nigel de Gruchy on a professional unity ticket and got a third of the votes. Had Eamonn lived and continued as general secretary, the idea of my standing against him would have been unthinkable. Eamonn supported professional unity. Brendan Barber spoke about this at Eamonn's memorial at the TUC.

I have no hesitation in reminding people of this, no matter how uncomfortable it might be for those who oppose professional unity.

Nonetheless, as I have already said, I wish Chris Keates all the best in the difficult times ahead.

Hank Roberts NASUWT member Organising secretary Professional Unity 2000 27 Ridley Road Harlesden, London NW10

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