Speaking in the debate on strengthening standards in public life, Shailesh Vara calls into question influence bought by trade unions citing as an example a Communication Workers Union resolution to support candidates who support their industrial and political aims.
The hon. Lady will be aware that, earlier this month, a conference held by the Communication Workers Union passed a resolution stating that funding from the union would
“go to specific Labour candidates and campaigns that support CWU industrial and political aims and to support the selection and election of such candidates.”
They may not be direct payments, but it would be naive —[Interruption.]
Order. Shouting at the hon. Gentleman is simply impolite. And laughing at me for saying so is worse. We will have better behaviour, on both sides of the House, please. I call Thangam Debbonaire.
Oh, I am sorry, I thought the hon. Gentleman had finished. He ought to finish very quickly, because I said we need short interventions.
There may not be direct payment here, but this is obvious, and it would be naive to assume that these would not be wholesale purchases of candidates speaking up for the trade union. Does the hon. Lady agree that that is a form of—[Interruption.] That should not be allowed.
For goodness’ sake. The hon. Gentleman said it himself: there is no direct payment to Members there. I am absolutely sure that the Conservative party accepts donations to its campaign costs. The trade union movement is the founding father of the Labour party and it does not buy influence. What it does is support our campaigning, and this is properly investigated and reported.
The hon. Gentleman is going to make another speech, Madam Deputy Speaker, but I will give way.
The hon. Gentleman is not going to make another speech. He is going to make a very short intervention.
Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. The point I was making is very simple: these people owe their seats in Parliament to the funding of the trade unions and therefore they would be lobbying for the union in every way. This is irrespective of whether they are paid directly or indirectly, with an indirect payment to their associations.
I do hope that there are no Conservative Members who have taken donations from anybody at any time, because these are donations to political parties—to political campaigns. They do not go to individuals, as the hon. Gentleman very well knows. He did rather promise that he was not going to make a speech, but it was good of him to explain to me, in case my little lady brain had not got it the first time.