HC Deb 02 February 1982 vol 17 c114
3. Mr. David Atkinson

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will introduce legislation to prohibit the payment from contributions to trade unions by their members of sums to political parties, except with the express authorisation of the contributor.

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. David Waddington)

No, Sir. The Employment Bill sets out our priorities for legislation in this Session.

Mr. Atkinson

Does my hon. and learned Friend agree that many trade union members who contribute to Labour Party funds by failing to contract-out of the political levy no longer support the Labour Party? In the interests of fairness and democracy, will he now seek to amend the Employment Bill and reintroduce contracting-in?

Mr. Waddington

I remind my hon. Friend that the question of contracting-in and contracting-out was not canvassed in the Green Paper. Our present proposals are concerned with industrial relations problems that need to be tackled immediately. Clearly, the Government cannot commit themselves about the future. Let us take one step at a time.

Mr. Crowther

Does the Minister agree that the right of trade unionists to contract out of paying the political levy contrasts sharply with the fact that shareholders are unable to prevent companies from paying their money to the Conservative Party?

Mr. Waddington

That is not a good point. The shareholder can sell his shares. All too often, as a result of the closed shop, a person is obliged to be a member of a union that gives active support to a political party that he detests.

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