LEN SEES RED; Unite chief: Labour is an 'utter disgrace'.
UNION chief Len McCluskey yesterday reignited his war with Labour - by threatening to withhold funding if Ed Miliband does not move the party left.
The Unite chief said the ongoing row over candidate selection had pushed the union's relationship with Labour to breaking point.
And he called Mr Miliband's handling of the Falkirk scandal "an utter, utter disgrace".
In the wake of claims Unite tried to fix candidate selection, Mr Miliband plans to make union members actively choose whether they want to fund Labour or not. But Unite has said this could see a 90% cut in its funding to Labour, with the cash going on direct campaigning instead.
At present, Unite affiliates one million members at PS3 each per year. But Mr McCluskey said: "There will be difficulties for the party -- its income from trade unions will shrink, possibly dramatically. Certainly, Unite will be using its political fund for a variety of initiatives - not just handing it over.
"This is an opportunity to do our political strategy better than before because our voice and our votes become seen as legitimate."
He railed against Labour's response to the vote fixing claims and blasted: "To suspend two of our members from the Labour Party and to unleash the police against decent people whose only offence was to get involved in politics was an utter, utter disgrace." And he warned MCCLUSKEY Labour would have to change if it expected trade unionists to pay up as full members.
He added: "Above all, that means a Labour Party that our members want to support because they believe it can and will make a difference in their lives - not a party that is a pinkish shadow of the present Coalition."
He said the feeling "we have been taken for granted by people who welcome our money but not our policy input" had strained relations for years.
But Labour hit back, with a senior source saying: "Under the reforms Ed has proposed individual trade unionists will become a proper part of our party.
"Donations from any source - be they from big businesses or major trade unions - will, as now, have no link with policy proposals."
Voice of the Mirror: Page 8
Our members don't want a Labour that is a pinkish shadow of the Coalition in utter, UNITE LEADER LEN MCCLUSKEY Labour
ATTACK J Len McCluskey on the front foot
UNDER FIRE Z Ed Miliband