Ed Miliband needs to reassure his backbenchers that he does indeed have a good plan after the GMB union announced it was cutting its affiliation funds to the party by 90 per cent. But someone else already has a plan: and it looks strangely like one that will cause the Labour leader a bit of grief. Tom Watson has this morning written a blog in which he suggests that ending the link between the party and the unions ‘is a very serious development that threatens a pillar of our democracy that has endured for over one hundred years’. He writes:
‘Over the next year we have been asked to consider a change to the constitution of the Labour party, though no detailed proposals have been revealed. I’m not opposed to reform but I will fight very hard to retain the fundamental link between the party and Labour movement.’
Watson was fulsome (in the correct sense of the word) in praise for the Labour leader when he resigned. But then in his Guardian interview, he started to scratch at the Labour leader. He still has significant might within the party, even without a formal role, and a fight from Watson could seriously damage Miliband, especially when he has so few bruisers around him at the moment.
More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.