The Labour leader backed off from a confrontation with the trade unions last night as he won support for plans to give a vote in leadership elections to non-party members.
The Liverpool conference backed Ed Miliband's call to create a new category of "registered supporters" who would have up to 10 per cent of the vote when Labour next chooses a leader. That share would be divided between the three sections that constitute Labour's electoral college – MPs, constituency activists and union members.
His original proposal was to include registered supporters in the union section, potentially heavily cutting the unions' share of the vote.
But Mr Miliband, anxious to avoid an internal wrangle on the conference's first day, retreated from his plan. A union source said: "We are very pleased – it has taken several days of hard negotiation."
He has also delayed a decision on how to dilute the bloc votes wielded by the unions at the Labour conference, making up half of its total voting strength.
Yesterday he said: "That is something that needs to be looked at and we are going to look at it over the coming months."