Miliband “looks at reducing power of union leaders in Labour affairs” – Media roundup: June 24th, 2013

July 8, 2013 11:41 am

Subscribers to our morning email get the best of LabourList – including the Media and blog round up – every weekday morning. If you were a subscriber you would have already received this (and much more) in your inbox. You can sign up here.

Miliband “looks at reducing power of union leaders in Labour affairs”

Open selection primaries, direct access to trade union levy payers by the party, and caps on spending by candidates seeking Labour nominations. These are among the changes Ed Miliband is considering in an attempt to mend, rather than end, the union-party link following alleged malpractice by the Unite union. Miliband will be canvassing party opinion before a speech this week setting out how the relationship can be reformed following alleged abuse of party rules by Unite supporters in Falkirk. The row led to the suspension of Unite’s favoured candidate for Falkirk, Karie Murphy, and the resignation of MP Tom Watson as the party’s general election co-ordinator. Miliband’s advisers said he favoured a cap on all spending in Labour contests for parliamentary selections, possibly including European elections. At present candidates for parliamentary seats cannot issue more than three leaflets, but there is no limit on spending by the candidate or third parties. The Labour leader is also to rewrite a code of conduct for candidates. The purpose of the reforms would be to strengthen the relationship between the party and trade unionists who pay a political levy, and to leave less power in the hands of union leaders. Advisers stressed that the package of changes was not intended to break the link between the unions and the party or to set in train such a process. – Guardian

Tories plan “wholesale” changes to human rights laws – and leave the ECHR

Chris Grayling, who as the Justice secretary and Lord Chancellor is the Cabinet minister in charge of the human rights policy, also suggested that the Tories would advocate wholesale withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights. Mr Grayling was speaking hours after radical preacher Abu Qatada was extradited to Jordan, ending a decade long legal battle which had been built on human rights laws. The terrorism suspect has landed in Jordan after his plane left at about 2.45am on Sunday morning, following a legal battle that cost more than £1.7 million. The case prompted calls for reforms to human rights laws to make it easier to eject foreign criminals from the country. Pressed on BBC1’s Sunday Politics, Mr Grayling said: “A future Conservative Government with a majority will make wholesale changes to human rights laws.” – Telegraph

Cooper calls for tougher scrutiny of security services

Labour is to call for much tougher oversight and scrutiny of the intelligence and security services to restore public confidence in their work and operations after the revelations about the US internet snooping programme, Prism. The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, will also call for much tougher independent oversight of the use of undercover police officers following the Guardian’s disclosure of covert surveillance operations targeting Stephen Lawrence’s family and the infiltration of protest groups. Cooper says the scrutiny role of the intelligence and security committee (ISC), made up of senior politicians, and the oversight role of the intelligence and surveillance commissioners need to be strengthened. Too much of the current oversight of intelligence agencies including MI5 and MI6 is unsatisfactory, paper-based and fails to provide any assurance to parliament and the public that there will be a rigorous investigation when things go wrong, Cooper will say in a major speech to the Demos thinktank on the balance between liberty and security on Monday. She will say that the ISC is carrying out important inquiries into the Prism allegations and into the actions of the intelligence agencies in relation to the suspects in the Woolwich killing of Drummer Lee Rigby. – Guardian

Other highlights

Latest

  • Comment Labour could lose out by not making it’s stance on Trident clear

    Labour could lose out by not making it’s stance on Trident clear

    Cutting Trident will be the price of support in a hung parliament. That’s the news reported from a meeting of the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Green leaders this week. With Labour’s slim lead and the SNP and Green vote threatening to impact on its share, this is a serious issue. Labour’s policy clearly states, ‘Labour has said that we are committed to a minimum, credible independent nuclear deterrent, delivered through a Continuous At-Sea Deterrent. It would require a clear body […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Is Cameron “frit” of TV debates? Let’s try the empty chair threat

    Is Cameron “frit” of TV debates? Let’s try the empty chair threat

    Lord Ashcroft has told him he shouldn’t have done it in 2010. Lynton Crosby has told him not to do it in 2015. It’s no surprise that David Cameron is trying to wriggle out of televised leader debates during the General Election – even though he has said he is willing to take part “in principle”. Time perhaps to dust off one of Margaret Thatcher’s favourite barbs “He’s frit.” Neil Kinnock tried it in 1992 to try to goad John Major into […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Flexibility makes for good work, strong families and thriving communities

    Flexibility makes for good work, strong families and thriving communities

    By Stephen Timms MP and Ian Murray MP The Christmas period reminds us that modern life can be busy, hurried and demanding. The pressures of work, demands of family life and hectic Christmas schedules can prove stretching as we juggle competing demands. Increasingly the need for flexible work is driven by the complex shape of people’s lives; as parents go to work, struggle to make ends meet, perform career roles, take their children to school and activities and try and carve […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour MP questions campaigning roles of publicly funded advisers

    Labour MP questions campaigning roles of publicly funded advisers

    As the start of the long campaign begins today, curbing the amount of money parties can spend between now and May 7th, Labour MP Jon Ashworth has sought to clarify what precautions are being taken to ensure publicly-funded government advisers are not using their time campaigning. Ashworth has sent a letter to senior civil servant Jeremy Heywood, asking him to answer a number of questions about what kind of campaigning activity was permitted and undertaken by special advisers (SpAds) in […]

    Read more →
  • News Berger asks Twitter to do more to stop use of racist words

    Berger asks Twitter to do more to stop use of racist words

    Luciana Berger, Shadow Minister for Public Health, has called on Twitter to do more the stop racist terms being used on the site. Berger has herself faced a large amount of anti-semitic abuse on the site, and in October Garron Helm  was jailed for sending her a torrent of anti-semitic messages. Berger told the Telegraph (£): “At the height of the abuse, the police said I was the subject of 2,500 hate messages in the space of three days using […]

    Read more →