Trade Union Bill: Government defeated over plans to force union members to opt in to paying political levy

Government also defeated over moves to require electronic balloting for industrial action

Protestors hold placards during an anti-trade union bill demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament
Protestors hold placards during an anti-trade union bill demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament

The Government has suffered a crushing Lords defeat over controversial moves to force trade union members to opt in to paying the political levy.

Tory peers have joined cross-party criticism of the policy plan, which could deprive Labour of £8m funding a year, warning that the scheme is partisan and divisive.

The Lords voted by 320 to 172, a majority of 148, for the changes to apply only to new union members and for the unions to be given more time to introduce the system.

Baroness Smith of Basildon, Labour leader in the Lords, said: “This resounding defeat at the hands of peers from all sides shows just how poor the Government has been in making its case for ‘opt-in’ and an overhaul of the trade union political fund.”

However, Business Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe insisted the move was not aimed at Labour’s finances, but intended to fulfil a manifesto commitment to make union political levies more transparent.

It is the second time the Lords have defeated minsters on the measure. The Trade Union Bill will now return to the House of Commons, where ministers are expected to try to force through the plans despite the Lords reverse.

The Government was also defeated over moves to require electronic balloting for industrial action.

Peers voted by 320 to 181, a majority of 139, to commission an independent review of the idea and introduce pilot schemes.

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