Unite, the Labour Party’s biggest affiliate and chief financial donor, is to reduce the number of members it affiliates to the party.
The decision taken by the union’s governing body, its Executive Council, will see Unite’s affiliation to the party drop by 10 per cent, or 50,000 affiliates – although Unite will still remain Labour’s largest trade union affiliate.
Announcing the union’s decision, which will see funding switch to other parts of the labour movement, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said, “Unite is and will remain that biggest affiliate to the Labour Party, something that we are very proud to be.
“We know that it is this union’s financial support and dedicated activists that help ensure that the Labour Party is not just election-ready but sustained between elections.
“But we also want to use our political funding to support and nurture the newer voices in our movement. There are some very talented thinkers and energetic organisations out there who could do with our assistance – and the Labour Party needs their enthusiasm and ideas too.
“This move will support the collective voice from the shop floor to the grassroots, helping to ensure that the party listens to and genuinely reflects the aspirations of the many for a Labour party and Labour movement that will truly deliver on our shared vision and values.
“Unite stands committed to transforming our country into a better place for working people so it is vital Labour remains the party of change and ideas, of redistribution and fairness.”
McCluskey concluded, “Our party has been the engine of progress in these isles during both the last and this century, from developing universal healthcare and education to Sure Start and NHS investment. We want to make sure it retains that spirit and determination because our movement’s brighter future – and a Labour government in 2024 – depends on this.”
By Barckley Sumner