§ 24. Mr. Kirkwood
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will now introduce legislation to provide for contracting in to the political levy as opposed to contracting out.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
The current series of political fund ballots provides an important opportunity for union members to decide for themselves whether their unions should continue to spend money on party political matters. Where ballots produce a majority in favour of a political 399W fund, unions are under a statutory duty to notify members of their right to contract out of the political levy and to inform them that a standard exemption notice may be obtained from their union or the certification officer. Union members will also wish to ensure that subsequent decisions on the use to which political funds are put conform to the policies on which campaigns have been conducted for their maintenance. Only on this basis can members freely and effectively decide for themselves whether or not to pay the political levy, which was the object of my right hon. Friend's discussions with the TUC. As we made clear to the TUC, the Government reserve the right to legislate if the voluntary approach does not prove effective.