Today’s release of Ray Collins’ review into Labour’s union link shows that once again Ed Miliband has given in to his union paymasters and backed down over reform say the Conservatives:
• Union members opting in to Labour affiliation fees would increase union leaders bargaining power over Labour. This was confirmed by both former Labour General Secretary Peter Watt and Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey last week.
• Open primaries would actually be easier for unions to fix. If they don’t even need to be Labour members to vote, Len McCluskey can simply pack selection meetings with trade union members in order to rig the selection. He could even fund his members to attend if Labour did ask people to pay for their vote, as Collins proposes.
• Standardised Constituency Development Plans would mean more union domination of Constituency Labour Parties across the country. Currently these funding agreements between unions and local Labour parties are voluntary, but standardising them across the country indicates most, or even all local Labour parties would have one.
Ed Miliband has already buckled under union pressure and backed down from dealing with Unite’s attempted fixing of the Falkirk selection.
Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps said:
‘Instead of taking on the unions over fixing selections, Ed Miliband has once again backed down to his paymasters’ demands.
‘These proposals would actually put more power over Labour in Len McCluskey’s hands: giving him more bargaining power over funding, more power over local Labour parties and a greater ability to influence selections through open primaries. It’s the same old Labour.
‘While Ed Miliband is spending his time trying to soothe his biggest paymasters, we’re dealing with the deficit, controlling immigration and fixing the welfare system to help hardworking people.’