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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.

Tory chair: Miliband's plan a 'let down from weak leader'

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps has called Ed Miliband's plan to to break the historic link between the Labour party and the unions "a complete let down by a weak leader."

"Ed Miliband promised a big change, but absolutely nothing has changed," Mr Shapps said."He is in fact giving the unions even more power to select candidates, to buy the policies of the party," he added.

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Ed is beneficiary of system where unions have a big say

by - Political Correspondent

Labour say this will make their party a mass-membership institution with individual union members choosing to affiliate to the party and having a say in leadership elections - one member one vote - instead of unions acting on their behalf.

Ed Miliband Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

There will also be a system or registered supporters, people who are not full members of the Labour Party, who can also then take part in those leadership elections.

But opponents of the Labour party say this would actually give the unions more power because all those affiliated members will actually take up more of the membership block than the unions were getting in the leadership election.

So to an extent, it remains to be seen how this will play out.

Of course this comes because of the Falkirk scandal and the allegations that the party selection process for its next MP up there was rigged and that the Unite union was involved in that.

Nothing was proved there. But Ed Miliband was a beneficiary of this system, whereby the unions have a big say - remember this was the reason he was elected as the party leader, not his brother.

Tories have been using that as a stick to bash him with and he needs to neutralise that threat.

Read: Labour unveil plan to redesign link with trade unions

Labour MP: Miliband wants to control the party

Veteran Labour backbencher Ian Davidson criticised Ed Miliband's plans to break the historic link with the unions, saying the Labour leadership was determined to strengthen its control over the party.

"New Labour have always wanted that because they have always wanted to remove any alternative centre of power. It is going to be a one-way transmission where the line comes down from the centre to individual members," the Glasgow South MP told BBC.

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 supporters react to Miliband's reform plan

Tristram hunt, MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central called Ed Miliband's proposed reforms to the party structure "progressive and powerful." But others were less impressed with the idea.

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Changing Labour to change the country. Ed Miliband's powerful and progressive plans for party reform http://t.co/4tXdJTninS

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@awkwardsod He should remember the unions ARE the Labour Party. He's pandering to the tory voter, not labour.

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Unions, syndicates and community associations are a better bet than Labour's front bench.

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.

Read: Labour unveil plan to redesign link with trade unions

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.

PM orders inquiry into tactics used by trade unions

The Prime Minister has ordered an inquiry into the tactics used by trade unions, following claims of intimidation during the dispute at the Grangemouth oil refinery, in Scotland.

But the move has been dismissed, by union leaders, as an election stunt.

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports:

Read: Inquiry to consider new laws against union 'bullying'

Burnham questions motives over union disputes inquiry

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said he wanted reassurances that that a Government-backed inquiry into the conduct of industrial disputes was not a "political call".

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said he wanted reassurances that a Government-backed inquiry was not a 'political call'.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said he wanted reassurances that a Government-backed inquiry was not a 'political call'. Credit: BBC/Sunday Politics

"Of course if there's been intimidation it's unacceptable and that should apply to unions as well as employers," he told BBC One's Sunday Politics show.

"I think I need reassurance that this isn't a political call by Mr Cameron designed to report near the election, so you know we'll see how this develops."

Read: Inquiry to consider new laws against union 'bullying'

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