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Labour's union ties under scrutiny

Labour's links with the giant Unite union will come under scrutiny today, with activists wanting the party to do more to promote pro-worker policies.

General secretary Len McCluskey made it clear to the union's national conference in Liverpool that Unite would campaign for a Labour victory in next year's general election.

He signalled that money will be made available for Labour to fight the Conservatives, even though Unite cut its funds by around £1.5 million a year in the wake of controversy over reforms to the party's links with unions.

The Unite leader said the union would not allow Labour to campaign with one hand "tied behind its back".

Delegates will today give their verdict on Labour's policies, with some expected to describe the party's behaviour against Unite in the row over the selection of a parliamentary candidate in Falkirk last year as a "disgrace".

Some delegates could even suggest that Unite should consider potential alternatives to Labour, a view which will not be supported by the union's leadership.

There could be calls for a new workers' party to be established as well as a debate about the "crisis" of working class representation.

The conference will also debate fracking, with some delegates set to argue for a moratorium across the UK as well as support for anti-fracking groups.

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