Former home secretary and Labour MP Alan Johnson launched a scathing attack on "irrelevant" trade unions today and urged Ed Miliband to end their influence in his party.
In an interview with right-wing Labour journal Progress, Mr Johnson said many democratically elected union leaders were "fat, white, finger-jabbing blokes on rostrums shouting and screaming."
The former Communication Workers Union general secretary insisted he remained a "passionate trade unionist" but said the unions needed to address their falling membership, rather than attacking Blairite Labour members.
Mr Johnson directed most of his fire at Unite general secretary Len McCluskey.
He told Progress: "Some of our colleagues, Len might be among them, think that victory is a bourgeois concept.
"That the only goal for true socialists is glorious fucking defeat at every election but at least you have got your little principles that you haven't compromised on."
And he said that the campaign to get more working-class voices in Westminster should not be "left to a small clique in the affiliated unions who want to get the people who mirror their views into parliament."
The West Hull and Hessle MP also suggested that trade unions should not command half the votes at Labour Party conference and should instead have around one-third.
"If I were the trade union movement I would be coming to the Labour party saying: there is no earthly reason why we should have 50 per cent of the conference vote," he said.