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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

War breaks out in the Labour Party

He may have pipped his brother to the leadership due to the support of the Trade Unions but that does not appear to have saved Ed Miliband from some savage comments by former allies today.

According to the Guardian the Labour leader is facing a growing trade union rebellion after the GMB and Public Commercial Services unions joined the condemnation of the party's support for a public sector pay squeeze:

Len McCluskey, the leader of Britain's largest union, led the outbreak of union disquiet on Monday in a Guardian article in which he warned that Miliband was setting Labour on course for electoral disaster and undermining his own leadership by accepting government cuts and the cap on public sector pay.

Kenny said: "I will update everyone as events unfold but I have to say this is the most serious mistake they could have made and the Tories must be rubbing their hands with glee."

GMB is Britain's third-largest union, with 620,000 members compared with Unite's 1.4m. Unison, the second largest, has not commented.

Mark Serwotka, the leader of the largest civil service union, the PCS, told the Guardian that Labour would lose the next general election if it did not reverse its policy shift.

Union opposition to Miliband's position is significant because, as well as being the party's biggest source of funding, the union vote was crucial to securing his victory in the 2010 leadership contest.

Serwotka, whose union is not affiliated to the party, said: "This guarantees, probably, that Labour will lose [in 2015] and lose badly. And that is a disaster for everyone because we will have the Tories coming in and doing the same thing [cutting public spending], except even further."

"It is a massive strategic mistake to tack rightwards because it means that no one is now arguing the alternative economic view, other than the trade unions. A lot of core Labour voters who are looking for something different will ask themselves where they go now."

The Labour leadership have been right to change their position and express their support for the Coalition Government's economic programme but they will have to pay a high price for that decision amongst their own supporter.
One wonders what prevents civil war breaking out among LibDems... the prospect of annihilation at a GE perhaps?
Or the fact that we are united in purpose and intent!
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