Prime Minister Brown met 15 union leaders at his country residence Chequers for three hours yesterday afternoon, to discuss spending cuts ahead of next week’s TUC Congress in Liverpool.
Ahead of the meeting Downing Street issued a statement saying the meeting would be ‘no love-in’.
‘The purpose is to discuss the government’s continuing strategy to bring Britain out of recession, including the policies set out in Building Britain’s Future.’
Unison has threatened not to fund Labour candidates at the next election who support policies which threaten public sector jobs, such as private sector involvement in the NHS.
A Unison spokeswoman told News Line yesterday: ‘At our conference in June, Dave Prentis made a speech pledging that we would no longer fund constituences and MPs which didn’t reflect our policies. That policy still stands.’
In a newspaper interview published yesterday Unite joint General Secretary Derek Simpson said the prime minister too often ‘behaved like a rabbit in the headlights, suffering a paralysis, for fear his colleagues are going to whip the knives out and stab him’.
He said New Labour was ‘dead’ and if Brown was not prepared to lead a return to traditional Labour values he should ‘stand aside’.
But by lunchtime Simpson was backtracking, with Unite issuing a statement saying Brown had his full support as leader.
The Unite statement said: ‘Derek Simpson, Unite’s joint general secretary, wishes to clarify that Gordon Brown has his full support and that Mr Brown is the only choice for leading the party to the next election.
‘Unite’s position is that winning the election does depend on the government and the PM ditching the “New Labour” ethos and embracing a progressive agenda for jobs, public services, housing and pensions.
‘Mr Simpson does warn that failure to draw clear dividing lines between Labour and the Conservatives could spell disaster at the next general election.’
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