Ed Miliband: Brave and Right
The Labour leader tonight confirms that he will support the change to the rules of future party leadership elections which I outlined in The Independent on Sunday. Some fellow Blairites have been worried that there must be a catch: that the trade union leaders could not really have been persuaded to give up the leverage they have in the existing system, by which Ed Miliband himself was elected.
Only union members who had given positive consent to paying an affiliation fee and then signed up separately to become an affiliated supporter would be able to vote.
The list of affiliated supporters would be controlled by Labour and no one else. Labour would issue the ballot papers for the leadership election, he said, and ensure fair access to affiliated members for all candidates.
As I said on Sunday:
This is huge. This is Ed Miliband’s admission that the way he was elected, though it was just about within the rules at the time, was wrong. He beat his brother because the leaders of Unite and the GMB used their control of members’ information to send out “Vote Ed” flyers with the ballot papers and to use phone banks to canvass for him.
What Ed Miliband has done tonight is necessary, brave and right.
Update: One cavil (sorry to spoil the pro-Ed party). Miliband says in the long version of his interview: “Even on the old system, 60% of Unite members did not vote for me in the leadership election.” This is not strictly right: 43% of them voted for him in the first round (thanks for RF McCarthy for the figures, derived from the Labour Party); a mere 20% voted for David. After transfers in the final round, Ed must have had a huge majority of the Unite vote – that is what swung the leadership for him. Convenient that the figures after transfers are not on the public record.Tagged in: ed miliband, labour leadership, labour party
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