LABOUR leader Ed Miliband was facing deep divisions over his plans to reform his party’s relationship with the unions and within his shadow cabinet over military intervention in Syria as he prepares for his keynote speech tomorrow.
Trade unions continue to make clear their opposition to plans to end their members being enrolled as associate members of the party following the row over a selection of a candidate to replace disgraced MP Eric Joyce in Falkirk.
Mr Miliband has brushed off suggestions he should apologise for suggesting Unite had tried to rig the Falkirk selection.
However, general secretary of Unite Len McCluskey warned Labour “no one is pushing us out of our party” amid continued controversy over plans to reform party membership.
He told a packed fringe meeting that unions would continue to speak out in the political arena, highlighting “scandals” such as zero-hours contracts, the growth of food banks, and welfare reforms.
“We are here to influence our party, to urge it to stand up and demonstrate it is on our side.”
In another challenge to Miliband’s authority, shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy will make an oblique attack on the party’s position on military intervention in Syria by calling on Labour to support the concept of military intervention abroad.
Today, Mr Murphy is due to say: “Despite wariness and weariness, the military component to our security is something our country and our party have always understood – whether in our eulogising the Socialists who defied their government to volunteer in the Spanish civil war, or supporting a controversial government here at home who stood up to an Argentinean junta, or in the ‘90s acting to stop a European slaughter in the Balkans.”