Tory MPs failed to win 50 per cent mandate they demand...

Tory MPs failed to win 50 per cent mandate they demand of unions, reveals new research

10 July 2014

Two faced Francis MaudeNot a single Tory cabinet member achieved the 50 per cent voting threshold they wish to impose on workers taking industrial action, reveals new research from Unite, the UK’s largest trade union.

Following Tory calls to harden Britain’s draconian anti-trade union laws, Unite has analysed the 2010 general election results, finding that when total potential turnout is included not a single Tory MP won 50 per cent.

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, said: “It is utter hypocrisy for the government to talk about mandates for trade unions when not a single member of the present cabinet would have been elected using the same criteria.

“The fact is not a single councillor in England has won 50 per cent of the electorate, not a single MEP has reached the 50 per cent threshold, Boris Johnson scraped in with just 37 per cent in 2008 and the government’s flagship Police Crime Commissioner election gained a risible 17 per cent of the vote. 

“This government has no mandate to attack trade unions or the workers who have been forced to take industrial action today in their fight to end poverty pay.”

The study shows that the cabinet member with the lowest percentage of the vote was David Jones, the Welsh secretary who secured the support of just 27 percent of the electorate in his seat of Clwyd West in 2010. 

Not far behind comes the recently appointed secretary of state for Culture Sajid Javid who came to office with the support of only 30.8 per cent of the electorate in his constituency of Bromsgrove in 2010. 

The member of the cabinet who comes closest to winning a 50 per cent mandate is home secretary Theresa May in her constituency of Maidenhead, although even she falls short of by seven per cent. 

Those MPs who have been most vocal in their attacks on workers taking action today, achieved the most risible results. Union bashing Priti Patel managed to win the support of just over a third (36.6 per cent) of the electorate in Witham, while the architect of the Conservative party’s manifesto Oliver Letwin gained the support of just 35.5 per cent of the electorate in Dorset. Cabinet office minister Francis Maude gained just 38 per cent. 

Len McCluskey: “Britain’s anti-trade union laws are already amongst the most restrictive in Europe. Tory attempts to further curtail the rights of working people to democratically organise risks placing Cameron’s Britain alongside nations like Kazakhstan, Albania and Niger where the right for public servants to take action is forbidden.”


For further information please contact Pauline Doyle on 07976 832861 or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.

Notes to editors:

Threshold Research: Unite’s research By their Own Standards: Why No Top Tory Achieved 50% of the Vote is available on request.

Countries Which Prohibit Strikes: List taken from P.52 the 2012 General Survey by The Committee of Experts and the Committee on Freedom of Association

CEACR consider that States may restrict or prohibit the right to strike of public servants "exercising authority in the name of the State". The countries which prohibit strikes beyond this permissible limit include:

Albania - CEACR, observation, 2010 

• Bulgaria - CEACR, observation, 2011 

• El Salvador - CEACR, direct request, 2010 

• Estonia - CEACR, observation, 2010 

• Kazakhstan - CEACR, observation, 2011 

• Lesotho - CEACR, observation, 2011 

• Niger - CEACR, observation, 2011 

• Panama - CEACR, observation, 2011

• United Republic of Tanzania - CEACR, observation, 2010.

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.