He tore into the establishment’s claims that Brexit will bring economic disaster, saying Britain will prosper and flourish outside the EU and should leave the single market.
His jaw-dropping outburst will heap huge pressure on Theresa May to prioritise regaining control of immigration over single market access in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.
Theresa May has been urged to prioritise border controls in upcoming Brexit talks
Mr Coyne said voters would feel betrayed in free movement is maintained
His comments, to be made in a speech to union activists in Birmingham tomorrow, place him squarely at odds with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has repeatedly refused to consider any change to EU migration rules.
Unite is Labour’s biggest financial backer, and if Mr Coyne succeeds in unseating current chief Len McCluskey he would make the party leader’s position increasingly untenable.
There can be no compromise on the principle of taking back control of our borders
“But for the many Britons facing insecurity in the job market, who rely on public services such as the NHS and state schools, and who need affordable homes, the presence of a very large number of foreign nationals has added to the pressures they already face at a time of austerity.
“Theresa May and other ministers should not wait until Article 50 has been triggered to set out a negotiating position on free movement of labour. They should be saying now, without equivocation, that the issue is non-negotiable.
“There can be no compromise on the principle of taking back control of our borders.”
And Mr Coyne, who is currently Unite’s West Midlands regional secretary, fired off a warning to Mrs May, telling her voters will not let her go back on the mandate delivered by the June 23 referendum.
He blasted: “My many conversations with Unite members leave me in no doubt that those who voted for Brexit expect that promise of an end to uncontrolled immigration from the EU to be kept, and will feel betrayed if it is not.
“Let us not fool ourselves. Brexit means exit. It means a world in which we have to be competitive enough to thrive outside the single European market.”
Mr Coyne’s outburst will be seen as an attempt to reconnect with millions of disenfranchised working class voters, particularly in northern England, who have been deserting Labour under the leadership of Mr Corbyn and his gaggle of metropolitan Islington elites.
It comes after the shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer called for an end to free movement, saying the party needed to have a “fundamental rethink” of its immigration policies.