A TORY MP admitted yesterday that he couldn’t justify Prime Minister David Cameron’s strike vote thresholds when MPs are elected with less than 50 per cent support.
Alec Shelbrooke said he did not support Mr Cameron’s proposals in a Radio 4 Today programme debate with TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.
The Elmet and Rothwell MP was speaking on behalf of the union-bashing Trade Union Reform Campaign group of Tory MPs that includes Thatcher-worshippers Liam Fox, Matthew Hancock and Dominic Raab.
He said: “I’m actually not in favour of making sure it’s 50 per cent of members who turn out in a ballot for strike action.
“But I fear the way the political strikes are going that the public may demand that and that may come in.
“I think it’s difficult to justify when you don’t have that for Westminster elections.”
Ms O’Grady welcomed the unexpected opposition to the PM’s plan to “ban strikes through the back door by imposing thresholds that not a single MP has met.”
“It’s the introduction of one rule for MPs and another for working people,” she added.
“We should be talking about how we can boost participation, not just in union ballots but in parliamentary ones too.”
Former BBC industrial correspondent Nicholas Jones backed the TUC’s call for unions to be allowed to ballot their members online.
He said: “If it’s possible to sign an official government petition on a Number 10 website, governments can hardly justify denying trade unions the right to use the internet to improve democracy int he work place.”