Union leader threatens Labour conference

By Ian Dunt

The unions won’t fight for Labour if it runs its election campaign on the basis of public spending cuts, a union leader has told the Labour conference.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, issued the stark warning to a packed conference hall in Brighton this morning.

“Too many in our party think that reform – or the answer to polls – is to ape the policies of the Tories,” he said.

“I say you’re wrong. It’s a recipe for defeat.

“Members of Unison will not support policies or a manifesto that seeks to reverse the investment we’ve made in the last decade.”

The comments follow several fringe meetings in which delegates and activists expressed anger and frustration at the Labour leadership’s newfound commitment to spending cuts, echoing calls from the Conservatives.

“Don’t ask our Unison delegation to fight with one hand tied behind their back,” Mr Prentis continued.

“Don’t ask us to fight for those things we stand against.”

Ed Balls, children’s secretary, said he would save £3 billion by scrapping the jobs of thousands of deputy head teachers last week.