Yesterday I wrote a story (click HERE) about how UNISON is withdrawing financial support from various Constituency Labour Parties in the North West due to Labour's attack (as they see it) on public sector pensions. I mentioned South Ribble as one constituency whose local Labour Party will have to hold a few more jumble sales. I am now able to reveal that the full list of North West constituencies whose funding from UNISON has been cut off contains Leigh (Andy Burnham MP - Home Office Minister), Liverpool Wavertree (Jane Kennedy MP - Health Minister), Oldham West & Royton (Michael Meacher), South Ribble (David Borrow) and Wallasey (Angela Eagle). Money is channelled to these (and other) CLPs through UNISON Labour Link. Its own website admits that...
Some have contended that the Labour Link structures lack democracy and accountability to the wider union and membership. The consultation has shown that there is certainly a lack of knowledge and involvement in Labour Link structures in some branches and more widely in the union.
No money is given directly to Labour MPs. It is all filtered through sao-called Constituency Development Plans (CDPs) to build organisation and for joint campaigns. There are 53 of these agreements across the country with constituencies – several of which do not have Labour MPs. I do not know if funding has been cut off for all 53, but I suspect that is the case. The scale of the funding is also unclear, although a post on the Labour Watch blog says that Wallasey gets £1500. I haven't had time to check with the Electoral Commission website for the details.
As I said yesterday, UNISON obviously believe that if they cut off funding the Labour Party will see the error of its ways and reverse the policy. It's blackmail and it stinks. Perhaps Inspector Knacker should look at this too. The rate we're going, he'll have to create a full time political corruption investigation. And to think we used to piously think this sort of thing only happened in Italy.