We won a vote in Parliament yesterday. It’s not often I get to write that, and I’m enjoying the novelty.
So, what happened and what does it mean?
Remember what the Tories are up to? Trade Union Bill – massive attack on unions’ right to speak up on behalf of their members, undermining the right to strike etc…? Well, hidden in the Trade Union Bill is a clause that is deliberately designed to cut off trade unions’ financial support for the Labour Party - while doing nothing to limit the hedge funds and millionaires that support the Tories.
Yesterday, Labour (backed by Lib Dems, Many Crossbench Peers and even some Tories) put forward a motion that will shine a light on what the Tories are up to.
You can read the transcript of the debate here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201516/ldhansrd/text/160120-0001.htm#16012032000940
Angela Smith, Labour’s Leader in the House of Lords said: “our genuinely held concern is that this aspect of the Bill will have a significant impact on the resources of one major political party—my party, the Labour Party. In doing so, that will both disrupt the political balance in the UK and have a damaging effect on the electoral process and on our democracy.”
There will now be a Select Committee of the House of Lords set up to examine Clause 10 and Clause 11 separately, and examine its impact on Party Funding – specifically in the context of the report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life on the funding of political parties.
They will have the chance to examine whether a Clause that takes £35million off the Party of opposition and £0 off the Party of Government is fair and balanced, or whether it’s a partisan attack, and an abuse of the Government’s majority in the House of Commons.
And they get to make some recommendations to the House of Lords about how to proceed, and whether the Bill should be amended. Whatever they suggest will still be subject to a vote of the House of Lords, and then a vote of the House of Commons, so we’re still a long way away from this fight being over, but the fact that this Motion was passed with a majority of 93 shows that we are winning the argument.
Help us keep winning that argument by writing a letter to your local paper: http://action.unionstogether.org.uk/letter