UK & World News

  • 1 March 2014, 23:21

Labour Party Backs Historic Miliband Reforms

Labour's special conference has approved far-reaching reforms to the party's structures, including its links with the unions.

The changes put forward by leader Ed Miliband following the controversy over Unite's involvement in selecting Labour's Falkirk candidate were backed by a margin of 86% to 14%.

The reforms would see an end to the automatic affiliation of union members and the introduction of a "one member, one vote" system for leadership elections.

Mr Miliband said the changes would help build a strong party that would make the voices of working people "louder".

The party leader told the audience in east London: "I am proud of our link with working people and with trade unions.

"I want to hear the voices of working people to be heard louder in our party than ever before and in the 21st century not everyone wants to be a member of a political party."

He said he had taken a "big risk" when he proposed the plans but they were designed to ensure the party "never loses touch again".

He said: "I did not believe we could face up to the challenges the country faced if we didn't face up to the challenges faced by our party."

Len McCluskey earlier said the changes would increase trade union involvement in the party and insisted his Unite union was "going nowhere".

Unite - which has given Labour 11m since Mr MIliband became leader - will hold a meeting of its executive next week to discuss cutting its Labour affiliation.

Mr McCluskey says he is "honour bound" to review links with the party as around 400,000 of his members are not Labour voters.

He defended Unite's role in the Falkirk selection row and told the conference: "Let me finally say to those elements inside the party who seek to edge us out, or to the grandees who snipe from the sidelines - this is our party and we are going nowhere."

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