Michael Gove has spoken about "Charlie Whelan's New Militant Tendency" in a speech setting out how dependent the Labour Party is on Unite - Britain’s biggest trade union.
His speech marked the launch of a new document that shines a light on how Unite has taken advantage of Labour's near bankruptcy and the departure of Tony Blair to gain an unprecedented grip on the party.
Under the political direction of Charlie Whelan, Unite is using its financial and organisation muscle to drive government policy and build a Labour Party very different to the one that appealed to Middle England and won three general elections. Instead, with Gordon Brown as leader, there has been a reversal of much-needed public service reforms, a return to industrial militancy and a regression into atavistic class war rhetoric.
"There can be few more powerful forces of conservatism opposed to the flexibility, freedom and choice of the post-bureaucratic age than the Whelanist Tendency now in control of the Labour party", Gove said.
"Labour’s re-unionisation has put them in bed with the past at a time when it is crucial that this country wakes up to the future."
The document sets out in detail the way in which, in the three years since Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, Unite has spent more than £11 million of its members’ money on buying influence within the Labour Party.
This extends from placing a key union operative inside 10 Downing Street to taking effective control of many cash-strapped constituency Labour parties and installing Unite activists and officials as prospective Parliamentary candidates.
Gove said that "the last thing we need is a political system where genuine participation in democracy is out-muscled by union power".
"This election will decide the future of this country and Labour represents a move backwards, not forwards", he added.
Read Michael Gove's speech in full
You can read our dossier on "Charlie Whelan's New Militant Tendency" in the document reader below, or alternatively click here to download a copy in PDF format.