FORMER MP David Drew has backed Labour leader Ed Miliband’s plans to overhaul his party’s relationship with the trade unions.
Mr Drew believes the proposed reforms, which also include changes to the way Labour elects its leadership, will make the party more democratic and bring it ‘into the 21st century in terms of party funding’.
The veteran Labour politician, who currently represents Farmhill and Paganhill on Stroud District Council, said the proposed changes were ‘vitally important’ because they would ensure that individual trade unionists were given a ‘real voice’ within his party.
Under the reforms, individual members of trade unions affiliated to Labour would have to explicitly consent for their “political levy” to go to the party.
In a separate process, trade unionists would also be able to pay a further fee to become affiliate members of the Labour Party, with the right to vote in leadership elections and attend local party meetings.
Mr Drew, who served as Stroud’s MP for 13 years until he lost his seat to Neil Carmichael in 2010, said: “I am immensely proud to be a representative for the only party that represents ordinary working people.
“The reforms being proposed to the Labour Party are vitally important as they give individual trade unionists a real voice within our party.”
Changes to the way future Labour leaders are elected are also being trailed, with plans for a one member, one vote method as opposed to the existing electoral college system used by the party.
The proposed reforms are due to be put before a special conference in London next month when local party delegates will decide whether to endorse or reject them.
Commenting on the proposals, Cllr Drew added: “This brings our party into the 21st century in terms of party funding.
“I am honoured to receive donations from trade unions that democratically represent ordinary workers – it is the cleanest and most transparent money in politics.
“Comparably, our current MP still hasn’t told us who donates to the shady United and Cecil Club, which recently gifted him £5,000.”