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Thirteen ministers around the Cabinet table take Unite's money: will they now return it?

As the strike by Unite members begins to cause travel chaos for air passengers today, David Cameron has already reiterated the message that the same union is bankrolling the Labour Party to the tune of £11 million in his speech about challenging vested interests.

This follows on from Michael Gove's excellent speech last week about how Labour has rewarded its paymasters, after which CCHQ published this essential dossier on what it called "Charlie Whelan's New Militant Tendency".

There is much in the dossier worth noting, not least the identities of the 148 MP and candidates who have taken Unite's money and the 167 MPs and candidates who declare their membership of the union.

But particularly striking (if you'll excuse the pun) is that no fewer than thirteen of the 27 Labour MPs who sit around the Cabinet table have taken Unite's money to fund their local party and campaigning. They are:

  • Jim Knight (Dorset South) - £6,560
  • Ed Balls (Morley and Outwood) - £5,395
  • Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East) - £4,500
  • Hilary Benn (Leeds Central) - £4,500
  • Douglas Alexander (Paisley and Renfrewshire South) - £4,000
  • Dawn Primarolo (Bristol South) - £1,500
  • Alan Johnson (Hull West and Hessle) - £1,310
  • Ed Miliband (Doncaster North) - £1,000
  • Gordon Brown (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) - £1,000
  • Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castelford) - £1,000
  • Shaun Woodward (St Helens South and Whiston) - £1,000
  • John Healey (Wentworth and Dearne) - £1,000
  • John Denham (Southampton Itchen) - £277.38

Whenever any of these figures are interviewed on television and radio, they must now be asked whether they will now return the Unite money they are using to run their personal re-election campaigns.

Jonathan Isaby