Trade Union Recognition

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 6th April 1998.

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Photo of Stephen Dorrell Stephen Dorrell Shadow Secretary of State for Education 3:32 pm, 6th April 1998

Yes, that was the last visit by the people's party to the people's resort—perhaps that is why the Labour party is not going back to Blackpool.

The Minister for School Standards speculated with a group of journalists about how a new Labour Government might provoke a crisis—[Interruption.] I see Labour Members nodding; they recognise the argument. The Minister almost salivated over his dinner at the prospect of the new Labour Government provoking a crisis in their relationship with the old Labour trade unions, giving new Labour the opportunity to break the trade union link. We know where the Prime Minister's instincts—his private, deepest thoughts—lie. Probably, he sometimes allows himself to dream what The Sun headline would be if Labour made it clear that it was dumping the trade unions and going with the CBI.

As the Prime Minister steels himself in the still watches of the night to take the decision, other voices, of which my hon. Friends have reminded us, will whisper in his ear, "Listen, Tony. Labour has an £8 million overdraft, and Unison, the TGWU and the GMB have all cut their contributions." The Prime Minister will also be reminded that the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union has withheld £250,000. Sources at the union say that it wants to see the contents of "Fairness at Work" before it gives the money. That is the first cautionary note sounding in the Prime Minister's ear.