The influence on the Labour Party of the trade union Unite – responsible for the BA cabin crew strikes – is well-documented. See this previous LeftWatch post, for example, to recall how many Unite-backed candidates have been selected for seats in return for millions of pounds of donations to Labour.
And it has now emerged through an answer to a written parliamentary question that Charlie Whelan, the union's political director, has a parliamentary pass provided to him through the Labour Party.
Tory MP Philip Dunne asked what kind of pass Whelan had and who sponsored it, and the reply came back:
"Mr. Whelan holds a temporary pass (light blue) issued in June 2009. It is sponsored by the parliamentary Labour party from within an agreed allocation".
Eric Pickles suggests this is yet further evidence of the hold the Union has over the party:
"Unite often brag that the Labour party is their political arm so it's only appropriate the puppetmaster Charlie Whelan might want to look in to ensure that his puppets are dancing to Unite's tune. This is the clearest example yet of how the views and interests of Unite and the Labour party are one and the same. The public interest has long been abandoned by Labour."