Miliband issues challenge to unions' power

Labour leader Ed Miliband wants to bypass union leaders
Labour leader Ed Miliband wants to bypass union leaders

Ed Miliband raised the prospect of dramatically watering down the power union barons wield over Labour as he outlined plans yesterday to overhaul the way the party is run. Speaking in Wrexham, the Labour leader hinted that he may try to bypass the heads of Unite, Unison and the GMB, saying he wanted to "reach out" directly to three million nurses, call-centre workers, engineers and shop workers who are affiliated union members.

A shake-up of policymaking at conferences could pave the way for cuts to the union's 50 per cent block vote. Mr Miliband, whose leadership victory was secured with union backing, said policymaking in the 1980s was "thrashed out in locked meeting rooms by a handful of people" – which will be seen as a swipe at the secretive control of the unions.

The comments come after a consultation on Refounding Labour, aimed at putting the party back "in touch" with the public.

The Labour MP Jon Cruddas said Mr Miliband should create a standalone "English Labour" movement to stop patriotism being hijacked by the far right. He said there was "a renewed sense of nationhood and modern patriotism developing" in Scotland and Wales, but the English suffered a crisis of identity, which was exploited by groups such as the English Defence League.

The Liberal Democrat minister Andrew Stunnell will say tomorrow that the coalition must "steal the ground" of groups such as the EDL. Whitehall had in the past "finished up fostering differences" in communities, instead of "celebrating what we have in common".

His promise that the Government will "challenge those who spread hate" will be made at a conference in Leicester.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in