Miliband picks up support for union reforms

ED MILIBAND yesterday received the backing of both Tony Blair and the leader of Britain’s biggest trade union as he announced a package of radical changes to Labour’s relationship with the unions.

Miliband put his leadership on the line to insist he will go to any length to stop union members automatically paying money to Labour unless they opt out.

He used a speech on Fleet Street to insist Labour must end the practice and other examples of “machine politics”, even though the move puts millions of pounds of funding at risk. Instead he wants union members to join the party directly and be more actively involved in campaigns.

Miliband also called for the resumption of all-party talks on limiting the size of donations for individuals and pledged to end the practice of MPs holding second jobs, especially those who take on legal work to top up their £65,738 salaries. Analysis by City A.M. found 14 members who work as lawyers, of whom 13 are Conservatives. One of them, Stephen Phillips MP, has earned more £710,000 from such work since June 2012.