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Miliband: Labour party union reforms 'right thing to do'

The Labour leader Ed Miliband has said his plans for future leadership contests to be decided by a one member, one vote system "is the right thing to do".

The current electoral college system gives a third of the votes each to the unions, rank and file party members, and the MPs and MEPs.

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports.

Miliband admits reform could cost Labour union funding

Labour leader Ed Miliband acknowledged that recasting the party's historic link with the trade unions amounted to "a risk" as the number of union members automatically affiliated to the party would fall.

In an interview with The Guardian, he admitted Labour could see a big drop in annual funding by unions.

But Mr Miliband denied the plans would bankrupt the party, suggesting affiliated supporters could become a further source of funds over and above an expected initial £3 annual fee.

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Miliband: 'Biggest changes' to Labour since formation

Individual trade unionists no longer be automatically affiliated through the payment of the political levy, but they will be able to take part in elections if they choose to join a new category of affiliated members for a fee of just £3.

These are the biggest changes to who can become involved in the Labour Party since probably its formation.

They go much further than people expected, but they are designed to open us up and complete unfinished business of the past 20 years.

These reforms are about letting people back into our politics, and getting them back into politics.

– Labour leader Ed Miliban

They will also be able to attend party meetings and the leadership hopes they will be encouraged to become more involved in campaigning, providing a new source of activism.

It will end the system which brought Mr Miliband the leadership with the support of the big unions, narrowly beating his older brother David.

Labour unveil plan to redesign link with trade unions

Labour leader Ed Miliband has vowed to "let people back into our politics" as he unveiled details of his promised plan to recast the party's historic link with the trade unions.

Ed Miliband wants to recast Labour. Credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

In an interview with The Guardian he said the proposals represented the biggest changes to who could become involved in the party since its formation, finally completing 20 years of unfinished business.

Under the plan, the electoral college system for leadership elections - which gives a third of the votes each to the unions, rank and file party members, and the MPs and MEPs - will be scrapped for a system of one member, one vote.

Labour's postcard from 'the desolate North'

The postcard sent out by Labour mocking the Tories Credit: Labour Party

The Labour party is handing out postcards mocking comments about the "desolate North" to delegates attending the annual Tory party conference in Manchester this weekend.

It says: "The Tories think the North is desolate.

"The truth is that it's home to millions of hard-working families and small businesses."

It follows comments by Tory peer Lord Howell of Guildford, who said fracking should be carried out in the North of England where "there are large, desolate areas."

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Union boss: 'No one can say the parties are all the same'

New TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said Ed Miliband's speech was a "defining moment" for the Labour leader. Credit: PA

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "This was a defining speech that rightly focused on the living standards crisis and went on to offer hope.

"At its heart was a clear break from the view that Britain succeeds by reducing the rights, pay and prospects of people at work.

"More importantly, the clear pledges made today and during the rest of this week showed that there will be a real choice at the next election - no one can now say that the parties are all the same."

Izzard: Miliband 'confident and relaxed with humour'

Comedian and performer Eddie Izzard gave a glowing review of Ed Miliband's conference speech. Credit: PA

Comedian Eddie Izzard, a renowned supporter of Labour, said: "The views on the NHS will resonate the most. We did rebuild it and David Cameron did say he would not touch it. He said he believed in it and suddenly they went all over it and we are going to have to rebuild it again.

"That got an instant standing ovation, which obviously wasn't planned as he had to stop in the middle of his speech, so that's great.

"I think fighting for women is great, the vote going down to 16 and 17-year-olds and fighting for people - the many not the few. I think that's the thing we always want to do."

Analysing the performance of the Labour leader, Izzard said: "I think it was very passionate. He's very confident now and very relaxed with his humour."

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