By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor
The Labour party is about to be clobbered with a £8m cut in after an overhaul of electoral funding. This could mean the Conservative party could spend four times as much as the Labour Party in the lead-up to the next election.
A shake-up of how union cash is used in the party has been called “cynical” and “partisan” and it could ruin Labour’s 2020 election campaign.
Tom Watson Labour’s deputy leader said that their campaign funds could be as low as £4.3m in the year-long battle leading up to the election.
During the previous election the Tories splashed out £15.6m already way ahead of Labour who spent £12.1m, 29 per cent less than the eventual victors.
Watson said: “The fact that the Tories could spend four pounds for every one pound Labour spends at the next general election should worry everyone, no matter what political party they support.”
The Conservatives want to scrap the system where union members can opt out of paying into a political fund to one where they have to opt in. Labour believe this could trigger a 90% plunge in members pump paying into trade unions’ political pots.
Sir Christopher Kelly, who chaired the Committee on Standards in Public Life said: “This is not politicians agreeing among themselves to put their house in order. It looks like a partisan, cynical move which is likely to bring the whole process into even greater disrepute.”
The ploy would “absolutely” have a “detrimental affect” on Labour’s cash flow, he added.
Mr Watson feared these new plans were, “designed to inflict maximum damage on the finances of the Labour Party. Sir Christopher Kelly, the former Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, described them as ‘partisan’ and ‘cynical’.
“The effect of those changes, combined with a dramatic reduction in the amount of public money opposition parties can access, will give the Government a huge electoral advantage.
“It is a blatant attempt to rewrite the rules of our democracy so that they favour the Tories and it must be resisted at every turn.”