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GMB union chief and Miliband to meet tomorrow

GMB union general secretary Paul Kenny and Ed Miliband are due to meet tomorrow in a meeting planned before today's decision to cut funding to Labour by £1 million.

A union source said its was made out of sorrow rather than in anger.

However, according to ITV News political correspondent Carl Dinnen, there are those in the Labour Party who thought it was a deliberate snub ahead of tomorrow's meeting:

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Alan Johnson warns against 'petty retribution'

Former home secretary Alan Johnson - an ex-union leader - warned against "petty retribution" in the wake of Ed Miliband's party reform pledge.

"We can no longer go on living the lie with these millions of people signed up as levy-paying members to the Labour Party, and treated as if they were members," Mr Johnson told BBC Radio 4's The World At One.

Labour's Alan Johnson used to be general secretary of the Communication Workers Union. Credit: Jeff Moore/Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

"I call them the ghosts in the machine. That is bad for the party, it is bad for the trade unions."

The former Communication Workers Union chief added, "I just hope this is not a piece of petty retribution by a trade union."

Labour given 'more than a few hours notice' of decision

A senior Labour source said the party had been given "more than a few hours" notice of the GMB's decision to reduce its funding, and was not aware of any other unions planning similar moves.

Labour leader Ed Miliband will not be deterred from his plans to "mend not end" Labour's financial links with the unions, the unnamed source added.

The GMB union announced it is cutting its funding to the Labour Party from £1.2 million to £150,000. Credit: PA Wire

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "Nothing has changed. The union barons can still rig Labour's candidate selections, buy Labour's policies and pick Labour's leader.

"If Ed Miliband is too weak to stand up to his union bosses, he will be too weak to stand up for hardworking people."

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Labour 'confident' of party membership amid policy row

Shadow Treasury secretary Rachel Reeves said she was "confident" more trade union members would sign up to the party when automatic affiliation is stopped.

"Of course we welcome the support that we get from the trade unions but this is a decision for the GMB," she told BBC Radio 4's Today.

"Since the last general election, membership in my constituency party in Leeds West has increased by 50 per cent. We've got more members, more trade union activists getting involved in the party because they like what Ed Miliband has to say.

"So I am confident that more people will sign up, get involved in the Labour Party, and come out campaigning. But that openness and transparency is really important and that is what Ed is trying to do."

GMB 'expresses regret' over Labour affiliation plans

The GMB union is to reduce its spending on Labour Party campaigns and initiatives. It comes as the union announced it was to cut its affiliation funds in the wake of the row over party reforms.

The decision follows plans by Ed Miliband to give individual union members the choice of opting to join the party rather than being automatically affiliated. The union has affiliated 420,000 of its members to Labour but that figure will be cut to 50,000 from January.

GMB CEC expressed considerable regret about the apparent lack of understanding the proposal mooted by Ed Miliband will have on the collective nature of trade union engagement with the Labour Party.

A further source of considerable regret to the CEC is that the party that had been formed to represent the interest of working people in this country intends to end collective engagement of trade unions in the party they helped to form.

The CEC also decided to scale down by one third the level of its national political fund.

GMB chief calls Labour's language on unions 'insulting'

The GMB union's general secretary has criticised the language used by some within the Labour Party about trade unions, claiming it was "very disappointing and insulting".

Paul Kenny predicted just 10% of GMB members affiliated to the Labour Party would retain that status under the new system proposed by Ed Miliband.

Mr Kenny told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I anticipate we will now have to ballot our members so that we can comply with what Ed wants.

General secretary of the GMB trade union Paul Kenny. Credit: Johnny Green/PA Wire

"I think we will be lucky if 10% of our current affiliation levels say yes they want to be members of the Labour Party, because they are two different things - campaigning for issues with the Labour Party and being members of the Labour Party are two entirely different things".

Mr Kenny added: "We have been trying to encourage our members to join the Labour Party for a very long time, in our magazines, in meetings, at our conferences. I have to say we have not been knocked down in the rush".

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