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Ed Miliband has told ITV News Political Editor Tom Bradby that changing the relationship between the Labour Party and the unions might cost the party money but "it's the right thing to do."
Ed Miliband has delivered a key note speech to the TUC conference in Bournemouth where he called for a "new relationship" between Labour and the unions.
He also made the following points:
- He said zero hour contracts had been misused adding that flexibility was a good thing, not exploitation
- Miliband said a Labour government would get young people working
- He said it would be a "massive challenge" to change Labour's links to the unions but added that change "must happen"
- Miliband claimed the Prime Minister "oozes contempt for trade unionists"
- He called Trade Union members the "backbone of Britain"
- The Labour leader praised people who are at work "before George Osborne's curtains are open"
Labour MPs have taken to Twitter to praise Ed Miliband's speech to the TUC conference:
Ed Miliband gets polite applause from most TUC delegates - a few sit with their arms crossed. No one stands but no one boos.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said it would be a "massive challenge" to change Labour's relationship with the unions and added he wanted his party to be "connected" to working people.
In his key note address to the TUC conference, he said: "It will be a massive challenge to make this kind of change and part of the responsibility of the Labour Party would be to reach out to your members and persuade them to be part of our party.
"I think that's a good thing, not a bad thing. Of course, some people say it's a risk and it is, like anything that's difficult is a risk but I believe the bigger risk is carrying on as we are.
“It is you who have been telling me year after year that the Labour party isn't sufficiently connected with the lives of working people. That's why we have to have the courage to change, it's the right thing to do.
“Change can happen, change must happen and I am absolutely determined that change will happen so we build a One Nation party and we can then build a One Nation country".
A majority of Britons have backed trade unions but want them to stay out of politics, according to the ITV News Index.
In a poll of 2,025 adults conducted by ComRes for ITV News, twice as many people think trade unions are good for the UK (49%), than those who disagree (22%), with 30% saying they did not know.
When asked whether trade unions should spend more time helping people in the workplace and less time getting involved in politics, 68% agreed with that statement, 12% disagreed and 20% said they did not know.
Labour leader Ed Miliband told the TUC Conference that David Cameron "oozes contempt" for their members.
He said: "(David Cameron) writes you off, he writes your members off. He oozes contempt for trade unionists from every pore of his being. What did he say about the trade union movement? He said it was a 'threat to our economy'. Back to being the enemy within.
“Six and a half million people who teach our children, who look after the sick, who care for the elderly, who build our homes, who keep our shops open morning, noon and night.
“How dare he? How dare he say they're a threat to the economy. Your members are the backbone of Britain and let's not forget it friends".
Mugs with the slogan "I still hate Thatcher" are being sold at the Trades Union Congress conference.
The former Prime Minister died on April 8 this year at the age of 87.
Latest ITV News reports
Ed Miliband has described union members as the "backbone of Britain" but insisted Labour's relationship with the unions "must change".