BRIGHTON, England (Labour Buzz) - The Labour Party’s Annual Conference began with an almighty battle on the National Executive Committee over the position of the Deputy Leader, currently held by Tom Watson. Jon Lansman, the Chair of Momentum tabled a motion calling for the post to be abolished on Friday night, at the Labour NEC meeting. After intense negotiations, a compromise was reached with Jeremy Corbyn stepping in to stop the immediate abolishment of the role, instead opting for a review. Mr Watson called the move a “sectarian attack” as many MPs and members came to his defense.
On the conference floor, delegates were thrilled with some barnstorming speeches from Shadow Cabinet Ministers. The hall was inspired and some were moved to tears with the strength of purpose, dedication and perseverance of the General Secretary, Jennie Formby. In her first public appearance since being diagnosed with cancer, the General Secretary praised the NHS for saving her life, and paid tribute to the care she received. Speaking to conference, Jennie highlighted the fact that in America her treatment would have cost £80,000 and highlighted the threat from a Boris Johnson-Donald Trump trade deal post Brexit.
Jennie is still fighting, adding that she was ‘not quite there yet’ in terms of her recovery. However, thanks to her superb treatment from NHS staff she is making a good recovery. The whole Labour movement stands with Jennie in solidarity in her fight against cancer and are in awe of her steadfastness, professionalism and passion for our NHS and a Labour government.
Party Chair, Ian Lavery MP blew conference away with a powerful speech. Attacking the entitlement of the ‘born to rule Tories’, Ian warned that the clock is ticking on this Tory government. The conference hall loved his firebrand speech highlighting Labours huge organising capacity and how it will ensure that the next time Labour conference meets, “Jeremy Corbyn is the Prime Minister leading a Labour government putting people before privilege.” His rallying cry inspired the conference and reaffirmed Labour’s commitment to taking its message to every town, village and city, to every doorstep, and to every voter, in an effort to change the country for the many.
Following on from the dispute over the role of the deputy leader, Dawn Butler, the Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary appealed for party unity. Her speech was stark, warning conference to “get its shit together” in order to beat Boris Johnson. A message well received by the conference floor. Dawn went on to announce Labours ongoing commitment to equality by introducing menopause leave for women, and an additional set of measures to help raise awareness of the challenges faced by women going through the menopause in the workplace. A progressive announcement that will be well received by millions of people, but especially women, up and down the country. In addition, Dawn announced an independent review into the rise of far-right extremism in response to the increase of race and hate crimes in recent years. Labour will always champion minority rights and will defend people against all forms of hate and all forms of racism.
The Conference Fringe starts tomorrow with many organisations and campaigns hosting events full of policy discussion. There is an amazing set of events to stir the imagination of members and engage in stimulating debate.
Tomorrow, Jonathan Ashworth MP, the Shadow Health Secretary, will address conference. In his speech he will outline Labours commitment to delivering a carbon neutral NHS and for training a new generation of GPs and NHS staff, ensuring our NHS remains one of the best health services in the world, free at the point of use. One not to be missed.
(By Brendan Chilton, edited by Michael O’Sullivan)