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Guess what? The unions are spending more in the marginals than the Conservatives

6a00d83451b31c69e20128765eaa5d970c-800wi This from Ian Kirby, the News of the World's Political Editor (my emphasis):

"A highly confidential operation being run by Britain’s biggest trade union, Unite, is far bigger than the Tories’ own £3m marginal seats campaign. The union is using it’s own massive datatbase of members in a bid to persuade dithering former Labour voters they must get out and vote during the General Election. The swing voters are being called by activists working for the Union...

...The operation is being masterminded by Charlie Whelan, Unite’s Political Director and a close friend of Prime Minister Gordon Brown...

...at the moment Labour have about £8m to spend at the election, half of the Tories’ own General Election Budget. But Unite are likely to spend up to £5m on their own campaign before the General Election starts. The trade unions have sent a staggering £88.5million to the Labour Party HQ in the last eight years. This amounts to 63 per cent of all funding the Labour Party has received since official records of donations began in 2001. They are also providing teams of drivers across the country to transport the elderly to polling stations, they are organizing postal votes, and sending 200 campaign officials to the marginal seats....

...To reinforce the direct calls, letters and leaflets, the Labour Party is also planning poster campaigns that will highlight claims about cuts under a Tory Government. For the past six months, Labour MPs have bombarded government departments such as the Home Office, Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department of Health. They have been asking about the effect of budget cuts on their constituencies. Those answers will be used on posters which will claim the Tories will cut hundreds of front line police jobs, thousands of nurses and teachers. Labour strategists believe the campaign will be particularly effective in the North West, where a far higher proportion of potential labour voters are in public sector jobs."

Perhaps we'll now get a week of stories on the BBC about Labour being in debt to the trade union movement. Or perhaps we won't.

Tim Montgomerie

> Recent ToryDiary: Tory plan to scrap automatic funding of unions could "bankrupt" Labour