Taxpayer funding of unions must end

The taxpayer is effectively funding unions which then donate to the Labour Party. It's got to stop, says David Morris MP.

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Trades Union Congress London HQ
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David Morris MP
On 24 May 2011 08:02

A few months ago I noticed an article in the Evening Standard in which a so called “nurse” called Andrew Lansley a liar. She said that that he had made promises to her in a private meeting before the election. As it turned out she had in fact boycotted the meeting due to her left-wing views, and she didn’t actually work as a nurse at all. She was being paid by the hospital to work full time for Unison.

I am not a traditional Tory Union Basher; I think there is an important role for Trades’ Unions, but I do not believe it is appropriate for them to be subsidised by taxpayers’ money. Once I started my research I realised that the Taxpayers’ Alliance had undertaken a vast Freedom of Information exercise and discovered there are at least 2,500 of these officials in the UK.

In response, I have tabled Early Day Motion 1799 to call for a ban on these full time unionists. They not only damage industrial relations but, from what I can gather, they are running highly political campaigns against the government. How can these people be enhancing our country?

I think we should also be deeply concerned about the fact that Unison is a major donor to the Labour Party. Could it be that the money Unison are saving by not paying these people themselves is being spent on these donations? This would effectively mean that Labour is state funded whilst the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats must raise their own money.

Aiden Burley MP, and Alok Sharma MP have also raised this issue and it’s very telling that this caused so many howls of indignation from certain Labour MPs. I can’t understand why any decent, fair minded trades’ unionist would want to support this team of hatchet-men.

Most union shop stewards are volunteers who are trying to help. Union Pilgrims besmirch their good name, and I hope that the volunteers will join with me in condemning these people. I would hate to see my name linked with them and I hope that the ordinary hardworking union members will support my Early Day Motion.

The good news about EDM 1799 is that it has highlighted this important issue and I know that a number of MPs are now talking about an adjournment debate. If we secure this we can truly start piling pressure onto the government to end this practise. But let me also make a personal appeal to Council Leaders and members of Primary Care Trusts: we really need your help. Please take the time to see if any of these people work in your organisation. You have the power to weed these people out one by one.

So my pledge to you is that I will keep fighting this colossal waste of taxpayers’ money, and I hope that everyone will examine their organisation to see if they can help. Let us all commit to the principal of unions paying for their own officials and hatchet-men having no place on the taxpayers’ expense account. We have a duty to the hard pressed taxpayers of the country.

David Morris is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Morecambe and Lunesdale

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