Labour’s union trouble

15 April 2021

11:40 PM

15 April 2021

11:40 PM

It’s arguably been a good week for Labour, as the Tory party becomes more and more implicated in the Greensill lobbying scandal, which saw the former PM David Cameron ringing around ministers last year to secure emergency cash for the flailing financial firm.

Labour leader Keir Starmer certainly seemed to enjoy the ongoing revelations about Greensill at PMQs this week, when he said Boris Johnson was overseeing the ‘return of Tory sleaze’. Wiser heads wondered though if the Labour Party should be championing a crackdown on outside organisations influencing politics, considering its own close links to the unions…

Lo and behold, that appeared to play out last night when Labour’s Rachel Reeves appeared on ITV’s Peston. The Labour shadow minister was asked on the show if Labour’s proposed transparency measures would also apply to the unions, and said she was ‘quite relaxed’ about them being added to a lobbying register.

Should trade unions have to register as lobbyists? @RachelReevesMP tells @Peston that she’s “quite relaxed about extending” the lobbying register to include trade unions. #Peston

— Peston (@itvpeston) April 14, 2021

As you can imagine, Reeve’s statement has gone down like a cup of cold sick on the left of the party, with the Corbynite campaign group Momentum already hitting out at the ‘nonsense’ idea that unions can be compared with corporations. It would, of course, be absolutely disastrous for the public to understand how the unions influence one of our major political parties. It might, for example, shed more light on how Unite spent almost £100m on the construction of a hotel and conference centre in Birmingham, handing the project to a firm currently being investigated by the Merseyside police as part of its probe into property contracts handed out by the Labour-run Liverpool council.

Mr S wonders how long Reeve’s stance will last too, considering how reliant Labour’s coffers are on the unions….

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