This September's party conference security pass - controversially sponsored last year by the supermarket chain Somerfield - is being paid for by the trades unions. Tony Blair, like all party members, will be obliged to wear the red accreditation ribbon around his neck emblazoned with the words "Come Home" - an appeal for New Labour to return to its socialist roots.
In a cheeky touch, the pass will be almost identical to the ribbon produced by the GMB union and worn by left-wingers at the conference last year in protest at Somerfield's coup.
The audacious raid on New Labour's image - at a conference celebrating the party's centenary - has been planned by John Edmonds, the GMB's general secretary and a man not afraid to criticise the Government. Reputedly, the sponsorship deal was brokered at a "highly competitive" rate - far less than the pounds 20,000 paid by Somerfield.
The accreditation will not only bear the logos of the GMB and textile unions but also publicise the campaign for all clothes to have labels showing the country of manufacture. The pass itself, made by one of the 300,000 textile workers in Britain, reads: "Wear your accreditation with pride and support the UK clothing and textile industry." It urges party members to "come home" to British textiles. Union sources said it had another meaning of the Labour Party returning to its old-fashioned roots. "John Edmonds is aware of the irony - this is a pretty audacious stroke," one official said.Reuse content