Labour urged to cut TUC link

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The Independent Online
TONY BLAIR has been urged to sever Labour's historic links with the trade unions by a group of party modernisers.

They want the Prime Minister to capitalise on comments made by Ken Cameron, the left-wing leader of the Fire Brigades Union, who called for the two wings of Labour to go their separate ways.

Labour modernisers are to launch a new campaign for a clean break between the party and the unions, in an attempt to capitalise on the call for a divorce by Mr Cameron at the TUC conference in Brighton.

Although other union bosses disowned his proposal, the Blairites believe Mr Cameron has opened the door for the Prime Minister to push ahead with a formal split.

The Second Term group of 500 Labour modernisers, intend to lobby for an end to the link during Labour's annual conference in Bournemouth later this month, when it will celebrate the centenary of its founding by the unions.

They will call for rule changes to be put to a future conference to transform Labour into a "one member, one vote" party in which the unions play no official role and trade unionists would take part only as ordinary members.

Phil Woodford, a director of Second Term said yesterday: "I believe that the break with the unions will happen in the next five years. Ultimately, it will not be in the unions' interests to be too closely aligned to Labour. They will want the freedom to fight on behalf of their members." He called for the state to fund political parties.