Miliband to press on with reforms
Labour will not back down on reforms to its relations with trade unions despite having to retreat in the row with Unite over alleged selection-rigging which sparked them, Ed Miliband has insisted.
He is to use a speech at the TUC conference on Tuesday to insist he is "absolutely determined" to press ahead in the face of warnings more unions will pull the plug financially.
And he is resisting calls for him to apologise to would-be Falkirk MP Karie Murphy, who has been reinstated to the party after an internal investigation cleared both her and the union of wrongdoing.
Mr Miliband is fighting fresh Tory claims that the unions are "pulling the strings" of his party after a disciplinary process found no rules had been breached in the Scottish constituency. It was a big climbdown as the party had initially referred to the police claims that Unite - its biggest donor - signed people up as party members without their knowledge to get its candidate picked.
The ensuing bitter public row with Unite boss Len McCluskey pushed Mr Miliband to propose radical changes to Labour's historic links with the union movement. One union, the GMB, has responded by slashing its affiliation fees by more than £1 million and others could follow, leaving the party with a huge black hole in its finances.
But Mr Miliband is to tell the conference: "We need to build a party truly rooted in the lives of all the working people of Britain once more. That is what my reforms are about. It is the right thing to do. We have to change. And I am absolutely determined to make this change happen."
Labour has stressed that its Falkirk findings came after "key evidence" was withdrawn - with Falkirk MP Eric Joyce claiming people were "prevailed upon" to do so. Although Ms Murphy and local party chairman Stevie Deans have had their suspensions lifted, the central party has kept in place restrictions on the constituency and will impose a shortlist of candidates for the 2015 general election.
But senior MP Tom Watson - who quit his shadow cabinet post over the row - said Ms Murphy was owed an apology for the way she had been treated. She has withdrawn from the race for the sake of "reconciliation and unity" and was "shocked and saddened" by the whole episode.
Mr Watson, who employed Ms Murphy and is close to Unite boss Len McCluskey, said they were put through hell on the basis of a "flawed" and factually inaccurate internal report. "Someone in the Labour Party owes Karie and Stevie Deans an apology," he said. Asked if it should come from Mr Miliband, he added: "It would be a very gracious act if he did."
But a senior Labour source insisted: "There is no prospect of an apology."