Labour leader Ed Miliband will today propose a raft of measures designed to reform the way the party selects its election candidates. He will also lay out far-reaching changes to the party’s relationship with the UK’s trades union movement. These moves, he claims, will strengthen the party’s “connection with working people.”
Chief among the proposals will be the suggestion that members of trade unions currently affiliated to Labour should no longer be automatically affiliated to the party but they should choose, as individuals, whether they wish to do so.
Miliband will also announce that American-style open primaries will be used to pick Labour’s candidate for London Mayor in 2016.
In response to the events in the Scottish constituency of Falkirk, where it has been alleged that members of the Unite union were signed up to the Labour Party without their consent, he will say: “I do not want any individual to be paying money to the Labour Party in affiliation fees unless they have deliberately chosen to do so.
“I believe we need people to be able to make a more active, individual, choice on whether they affiliate to the Labour Party.”
Other new selection rules will include a code of conduct for those seeking parliamentary selection, with anyone breaching it facing disqualification. There will also be strict spending limits for candidates–and organisations operating on their behalf, such as trade unions–for all selections in contests for both the Westminster and European parliaments.
There will also be standard constituency agreements with trade unions in order to prevent supporters from being subjected to what the Labour leader will describe as “undue local pressure”.
“For the next London Mayoral election Labour will have a primary for our candidate selection. All Londoners of voting age should be eligible to take part. All they will need to do is either be a party member or register as a supporter at any time up to the day of the ballot,” he will say.
Anticipating the fact that these proposals are likely to cause concern among Labour-affiliated unions, Miliband, a former energy secretary, will emphasise that these changes will need to be carefully implemented in detail and over time.
In an effort…