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Unison sets out how it intends holding Labour to ransom over the coming years

By Jonathan Isaby

Picture 2 Last week we had the GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny threatening to withdraw funding from Labour if David Miliband is elected leader, over his younger brother, who his union has endorsed.

Today it is the turn of Unison boss Dave Prentis to set out how his union intends holding the Labour Party to ransom over the years to come.

As The Observer reports, Prentis and Unison are backing Ed Miliband in the contest, but in expectation that his elder brother will win the day, they have now effectively set out their demands for Labour under his leadership.

Prentis tells the paper:

"He is very much part of the New Labour agenda which did seek on many occasions to beat up the trade unions... part of a New Labour agenda which is very comfortable with our members going through the trauma of privatisation... We will not go back to a New Labour agenda based on privatisation, and fragmentation and globalisation that we have had over the past few years."

The report continues:

Prentis said that the unions were gearing up to regain a greater role in policymaking. He said that they would unite behind a vote allowing the Labour party conference – where they have 50% of the votes – to vote on policy rather than just make recommendations.

He also called for reform of the party's national policy forum, a body seen as toothless by the unions, to give ordinary members a greater input into policy. "We don't seek to dominate the party. We don't seek to dominate the government. But we expect to be able to play a constructive role within the party itself and stand up for our values, which are the same as the Labour party's values.

Whilst Prentis reportedly rejects suggestions that he might threaten to withdraw funding from Labour if his demands are not met, at a time when the Labour Party is bereft of cash, it will surely find it difficult not to pay heed to its paymasters.