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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 insists.

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.

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Labour has stressed that its Falkirk findings came after "key evidence" was withdrawn - with Falkirk MP Eric Joyce claiming people were "prevailed upon" to do so.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.

Meanwhile, Mr McCluskey said Unite was delighted to have been "vindicated" over Falkirk and that it was time to "move on".

He said he was happy to have a "proper debate and discussion" about updating the unions' relationship with Labour. But he warned Mr Miliband needed to demonstrate to both the unions and the working population that Labour was "on their side".


From Belfast Telegraph