Latest figures from the Electoral Commission show that 74% of Labour’s latest declared donations of £3.4m came from the trade union movement. Francis Maude is unimpressed:
"Labour is now almost entirely dependent on the unions for funding. In return, they’re getting pet policies and bungs with taxpayers’ money. This sort of cronyism undermines our entire democratic process. That’s why we put forward proposals earlier this year to clean up politics, including a cap on political donations, whether from an individual, a company, or any other institution, including a trade union. It should come as no surprise that Labour has already rejected them out of hand.”
In the same press release CCHQ lists three major policy gifts from Labour to the unions:
- "Under an agreement reached with the unions in July 2004, the ‘Warwick Agreement’, Labour agreed over 60 concessions, including the watering down of anti-strike legislation and additional Government funding for the unions. In return, the unions agreed to provide funding for Labour’s 2005 General Election campaign.
- Labour introduced the Employment Relations Act 2004 which created a £10 million ‘modernisation fund’ for the unions, with few conditions attached.
- Labour bowed to union pressure and shelved plans to force existing public sector employees to retire at 65."
Meanwhile the Conservative Party faces pressure to declare the source of historical loans. Peter Watt, Labour’s General Secretary, told BBC: "It appears that the Tories have only declared loans taken out in the last quarter. In addition to this they still have not declared who their overseas lender was."