Peter Mandelson warns Labour over trade union influence

Former minister says too many candidate selection processes are 'in the hands of one union at worst or a couple at best'

The former Labour cabinet minister Lord Mandelson has warned his party over the influence trade unions have over candidate selection, saying that it doesn't reflect the "new politics" which Ed Miliband claims to represent.

Speaking at a conference of party members in London yesterday, he said too many selection processes were “in the hands of one union at worst or a couple at best."

He said the selections were being “orchestrated by a cabal of NEC (national executive committee) members. This is not the new politics by any stretch of the imagination," reports the Sunday Times.

Unions account for 81% of all party money received under Miliband’s leadership, and Unite is sponsoring about a quarter of the parliamentary candidates elected so far for the 2015 election. Union support was also credited with landing Miliband the role over his older brother, David.

Mandelson said he was glad Miliband had talked about the diversity of candidates and the party’s selection process becoming more open rather than closed.

He said: “This chimes very much with his (Miliband’s) call for a new politics in this country. But I don’t know how we can reconcile the ideas associated with a new politics with too many selection processes for parliament . . . not all of them, but too many being put in the hands of one union at worst or a couple of unions at best.”