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U.K Labour Party Ruling Body Backs Leadership Election Changes

Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. Labour Party’s National Executive Council backed leader Ed Miliband’s plan to change the party’s relationship with the unions that founded it, including new rules on leadership elections.

The plan, announced by Miliband last year after claims the Unite union was exerting too much influence over the selection of parliamentary candidates, will now go to a special conference on March 1.

Under the proposals, union members will have to opt in to membership of Labour, rather than being automatically affiliated. Each party member will have a single vote on the leadership, rather than the current system, which has three electoral colleges made up of lawmakers, party members and union members.

“For too long politics has been out of touch with working people and people from all walks of life,” Miliband said in an e-mailed statement. “These changes will help bridge the gap between Westminster and the rest of Britain.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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