Ed Miliband said he wanted to "mend...not end" Labour's relationship with the trade unions as he promised further party reforms to prevent a repeat of a highly-damaging row over candidate selection.
The Labour leader, who is engaged in a bitter dispute with the leader of the party's biggest union donor over claims it sought to rig a ballot, said he wanted to increase the involvement of individual members.
But he dismissed suggestions he was looking at ending the historic formal ties with the unions.
Labour leader Ed Miliband has turned on the trade union Unite - his biggest financial backer - whose votes helped him become leader.
Tom Watson has announced his resignation from the shadow cabinet, amid a row about the influence of the union Unite on the Labour party.