Some backbone at last

David Cameron has finally seen what John Key still fails to grasp…that unions are the enemy and are in bed with the Labour party. It is therefore best to move to cut off their funding mechanisms to the Labour party. They are no better than shameless lobbyists.

Downing Street was accused of conducting “shabby” politics by?Labourafter?David Cameron?and?Nick Clegg?took a new anti-sleaze bill announced in response to the?lobbying?scandal and inserted last-minute plans to clamp down on union funding of election campaigns.

The surprise move was designed to reduce the impact of union support for Labour in the run-up to an election, and came as Clegg said he would introduce a bill to create a statutory register of lobbyists in time for this summer’s parliamentary recess.?

Cameron and Clegg agreed to incorporate the union funding measures at a bilateral meeting in the morning. Number 10 then announced them in the afternoon, in moves that even seemed to catch some junior members of the government off guard.

In a further development on Monday night the Speaker, John Bercow, suspended 80 passes to the House of Commons pending investigations into All-Party Parliamentary Groups by the Commons standards committee.

The Speaker instigated an inquiry into the groups last year, which has now been given new urgency after the lobbying revelations in recent days.

The new anti-sleaze bill will include measures to control in the year prior to an election any spending of third party organisations affiliated to parties and any organisation contributing ?100,000 or more. In practice, this only applies to the trade union funding of Labour and will exclude figures such as the former Conservative deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft, who has funded individual Conservative associations.