SCORES of Irish trade union members in Britain could see their relationship with Labour radically altered following Ed Miliband’s vow to review his party’s ties with the unions.
After weeks of pressure applied to the party leader as a result of the Falkirk scandal in which Unite the union stands accused of rigging the candidate selection, Mr Miliband said he would reform the way the party is funded.
Under his proposals, Labour would end a system that sees it get an automatic “affiliation” fee from three million union members. Instead, members would have to opt-in to paying a portion of their union membership fee to the party.
The announcement was met with surprise from the unions.
GMB chief Paul Kenny said it could cost Labour up to 90 per cent of the £1.5m it takes from the union each year.
Meanwhile, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, who has denied his union committed any wrongdoing in the Falkirk selection process, said its funding of Labour could plummet from £3.25m annually to around £250,000 if the proposal is implemented.