Unite 'vindicated' over Falkirk

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has said the union is delighted to have been "vindicated" over the Falkirk selection row and it is time to "move on". He added the union wants have a "proper debate" about updating its relationship with Labour.

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TUC head urges Labour and unions to make peace

TUC head Frances O'Grady says Labour and the unions should end in-fighting Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

The head of the TUC has urged Labour and the unions to "shake hands and move on" from their row over affiliation.

General Secretary Frances O'Grady said both sides should focus on issues such as low pay, zero hours contracts and jobs.

Tensions between the two wings of the labour movement has marked the mood at the TUC Congress, which opens in Bournemouth today.

"My advice would be - shake hands and move on and start talking about the issues that people are worried about such as poverty pay, zero hours and jobs," Ms O'Grady told a press conference.

GMB chief: Miliband's reforms 'not thought through'

General secretary of the GMB union Paul Kenny has criticised the Labour leader's planned reforms. Credit: Press Association

The general secretary of the GMB union Paul Kenny has said that Labour leader Ed Miliband's plans to redefine the party's relationships with unions are not thought through.

"I don't know where it came from.

"Frankly, I don't know if someone had a bad night out and dreamt it up because he obviously didn't think it through."

Mr Kenny's stance differs to that of Unite union chief Len McCluskey who said he welcomes "proper debate and a discussion to see whether we can strengthen the relationship".

Mr Miliband is to use a speech at the TUC conference on Tuesday to insist he is "absolutely determined" to press ahead with reforms despite the loss of funding that may occur.

Read: Miliband still committed to union reforms

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Unite: Time to 'move on' from Falkirk selection row

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said it was time to "move on" from the Falkirk selection row. Credit: BBC/Andrew Marr show

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has said the union is delighted to have been "vindicated" over the Falkirk Labour candidate selection row and that it was time to "move on".

Speaking to BBC1's Andrew Marr Show, he said Labour leader Ed Miliband's reforms were not about "cutting" the union link but about creating a new relationship for the 21st century.

"We want to engage in a proper debate and a discussion to see whether we can strengthen the relationship and make certain that we create a Labour Party that is on the side of ordinary working people.

But Mr McCluskey warned Ed Miliband needed to demonstrate to both the unions and the working population that Labour was "on their side".

""The challenge really for Ed is to make certain now that he demonstrates to ordinary working people, and indeed to organised Labour, that the Labour Party is on their side.

"We certainly support that and we are going to be working enthusiastically to see if we can bring that about", he added.

Ed Miliband will tell unions: 'We have to change'

Labour leader Ed Miliband will tell the TUC he is "absolutely determined" to change union membership in the party to an opt-in system.

Addressing TUC members on Tuesday, Mr Miliband will tell the conference:

We need to build a party truly rooted in the lives of all the working people of Britain once more.

That is what my reforms are about. It is the right thing to do. We have to change.

And I am absolutely determined to make this change happen.

– Labour leader Ed Miliband

Mr Miliband's reform of trade unions would no longer see members automatically affiliated with Labour, as happens now.

Unions, though, fear the changes will relegate them to "placard carriers and cheque writers" and weaken or even sever the historic link with the party.

Unapologetic Miliband still committed to union reforms

Ed Miliband has resisted calls to apologise to would-be Falkirk MP Karie Murphy, who has now quit the selection race. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Archive

Ed Miliband will push ahead, unapologetically, with reforms to Labour's historic relations with trade unions despite his climbdown in a row with Unite over alleged rigging of candidates in Falkirk.

A disciplinary process found no rules had been breached by the union in the Scottish constituency.

But Mr Miliband will use his speech at the TUC conference on Tuesday to reiterate that he is "absolutely determined" to press ahead with reforms despite the loss of funding that may occur.

Labour had initially referred to the police claims that Unite - its biggest donor - signed people up as party members without their knowledge to get its candidate picked.

Read: Labour 'fix row' candidate quits Falkirk race

Harman: Miliband 'should not' apologise for Falkirk

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman has backed Ed Miliband in the row over Falkirk Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman has defended Ed Miliband's role in the Falkirk row.

"If serious allegations are made, it is the responsibility of the leader of the Labour Party to make sure they are properly investigated, " she said.

She also urged the party to continue to 'modernise' its relationships with the unions.

"It's right that we continue with the process of looking at the relationship of the unions and the Labour Party and make sure that we change and modernise those relationships which Falkirk was the catalyst for."

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Unite member: Falkirk 'embarrassment' for Miliband

Unite member Brian Capaloff, who is on the Labour party executive in Falkirk, has called for the original internal report of the inquiry to be published. He told the BBC'S Radio 4 Today that Labour leader Ed Miliband had caused himself "a complete embarrassment".

Ed Miliband was pushed into making a decision in order to demonstrate that the unions weren't in control and he made completely the wrong call.

It's a complete embarrassment, completely of his own making.

I am of the belief that those allegations were withdrawn because they were unfounded in the first place or because there were suspicions about their submission.

– Unite member and Labour party executive in Falkirk Brian Capaloff

He wrote on Twitter that it was a "joke" that the constituency would remain in special measures, which was simply "a means to impose their own shortlist &, in effect, own candidate on us".

Miliband 'should apologise' to Falkirk candidates

Labour's Tom Watson resigned his position over the Falkirk row. Credit: PA Wire

Labour's former General Election co-ordinator Tom Watson has called for Labour leader Ed Miliband to apologise to the party's election candidates in Falkirk.

"It's not our finest hour," he told BBC Radio 4's Today.

The party, which in July referred the claims about the Falkirk constituency to the police, said an internal inquiry had found no evidence rules were breached after "key evidence" was withdrawn.

It lifted the suspensions of Unite-backed would-be MP Karie Murphy and local party chairman Stevie Deans, saying they too had done nothing wrong.

"Someone in the Labour Party owes Karie and Stevie Deans an apology, " he said.

"They have had a terrible few months: they have been staked out by tabloid journalists; had their characters traduced in the newspapers; been attacked by frontbenchers; and now they've been found innocent of any of the allegations."

Labour pressured to publish Falkirk vote-rigging report

Ed Miliband remains embroiled in difficult relations with the trade union movement. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Archive

The Labour Party is facing pressure to publish the results of an internal inquiry that exonerated the Unite union of wrongdoing over claims it rigged the selection of a party candidate in Falkirk.

The party, which in July referred the claims about the Falkirk constituency to the police, yesterday said an in-house report found no evidence rules were breached after "key evidence" was withdrawn.

The Tories have accused the party of a "stitch-up" designed to end a bitter row with Unite - Labour's biggest single financial donor - on the eve of the conference season.

The claims increase the pressure on Labour leader Ed Miliband, who is scheduled to address the TUC annual conference on Tuesday.

Jim Murphy refuses to publicly retract Unite accusation

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy has refused to publicly retract his comments about the Unite union, which he made amid the Falkirk candidacy fix row.

Fellow Labour MP Tom Watson earlier demanded Mr Murphy withdraw his claim that Unite had "well and truly overstepped the mark" with "external interference".

But, responding on Twitter after an internal inquiry cleared the union, Mr Murphy tweeted:

968fba036b28d53268843cfec94d4e9d_normal

@tom_watson You know how to get in touch away from Tory twitter eyes m'while I'll just get on with supporting Ed's plans for Party/TU reform

Read: Labour 'fix row' candidate quits Falkirk selection race

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