Who would be the perfect person to introduce Ed before he delivered his big speech on trade unions this week? Why, a Labour candidate with no trade union links, of course. Miliband’s team had Birmingham Yardley candidate Jess Phillips warm up for the Labour leader, making sure she emphasised her credentials as a poster girl for Labour’s independence from the unions:
“I benefited from being in the right place at the right time. The right place was the Labour Party, the right time was under Ed Miliband’s leadership because what I found, when I decided to get back involved, was a party crying out for people like me. Not because of my links with any union, company or political pressure group. In fact for the exact opposite reason, because I was none of these things, I am not sure they even cared about me being a member of the party. What I was, was a member of a community. A community who had done something brilliant, we had got organised.”
Just the one problem: Jess’ claim that she was selected “Not because of my links with any union, company or political pressure group. In fact for the exact opposite reason, because I was none of these things” is a bit of a whopper. On leaflets she sent to party members before her selection Phillips admits:
“I have been nominated by all the branches (Acocks Green, Stetchford and Yardley North, Sheldon, South Yardley) and also by the CWU [Communication Workers Union].”
She also explains how she has “worked with the CWU” campaigning on local issues. So Miliband’s shining example of a Labour candidate independent from union influence is union-affiliated after all. Shocker.