Elmet and Rothwell delegate at Labour Party conference

Keir Starmer shaking hands with Karen Bruce
It was great to shake Keir’s hand immediately after his speech.

I thought this snapshot of Labour Party conference might be interesting for local members, supporters of the local Labour Party and the many community minded folk here in Elmet and Rothwell. I finally got around to posting it after just returning from holiday.

It was a fabulous conference.

I really enjoyed attending as Elmet and Rothwell delegate in Liverpool, thanks to local members for giving me the opportunity.

Rachel Reeves speaking at Labour Party conference and delegates

The impression stamped on me as a delegate, and no doubt to the outside world watching, was that of a party which had come together united. A party focussed on and serious about winning the general election whenever it came. A party united behind Keir Starmer. Keir looked like a confident, relaxed and in charge Prime Minister in waiting. Alongside him he has a competent shadow team, which is particularly re-assuring given the complete and utter shambles the Tories are in and dragging the country down with them.

It felt really in tune with the country to kick off with a tribute to the very recently passed Queen Elizabeth. It was an emotional moment to be in the hall with friends and colleagues from across our party.

Packed hall waiting for tribute to late Queen Elizabeth.

Labour Party conference isn’t just about listening to speeches. As delegates we also got to vote on important issues. Some key decisions included:

  • Capping each CLP’s Annual Conference delegation at six delegates to prevent the conference floor being dominated by very large delegations from wealthy CLPs when the money should be better invested in campaigning (the number of delegates makes no difference to the votes the CLP has).
  • Shortlisting in snap elections and by-elections gives flexibility to NEC and takes account of the fact they are nationally, rather than just locally focused.
  • Two CLP reps on conference arrangement committee will again be elected by conference, which seems more logical.
  • For Disabled Members’ rep on the Conference Arrangements Committee, Katrina Murray, was re-elected with 93% of the vote
  • Restoring the “one year rule” for rule changes submitted by CLPs.
  • Councillors must withdraw from coalitions with other parties when instructed or lose whip.
  • National Constitutional Committee -Sama Tatler, Phil Brickell and Dan Neidle elected.
  • Support for proportional representation – I heard some great and valid arguments for and against. It was a great example of why it is so important to listen to and learn from the speeches. It has to be right that everyone’s vote should have the same value.

My favourite speeches

The Labour team did not disappoint with their speeches, showcasing what great talent we have.

Rachel Reeves gave a great speech and has been doing a great job convincing the country that Labour is a safe pair of hands to run the economy again. We have to occupy the ground of economic competence which has been lacking since the days of Gordon Brown.

It was good to hear Yvette Cooper reminding us all that a Labour government will be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.

The shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, said the party would promise face-to-face GP appointments with any patients who wanted them, adding that the days of waiting on the phone at 8am to book an appointment with your GP will be over. We will bring back the family doctor. Patients will be able to self-refer to specialist services where appropriate, without permission from a GP.

Bridget Phillipson, the fabulous shadow education secretary, said Labour would reform the childcare system for children aged one to 11, starting with the provision of free breakfast clubs at all primary schools.

I hope you got chance to see Keir Starmer’s brilliant speech. If not you can watch it (and all the other speeches) on the Labour Party’s YouTube channel. Keir gave us some impressive major policy announcements to go out and campaign on. It also gave an insight into Keir the person. He spoke about his mum’s illness – she was diagnosed with Still’s disease when he was young – and he recalled going into the intensive care unit to visit, where he found his Mum’s bed was a riot of tubes and devices. He said he could sense the urgency in the conversation of the four nurses on his mum’s bed. “I knew without being told that they were keeping her alive.” He could hardly convey the emotion of seeing his mum in that condition. He praised the nurses who looked after her. And he spoke movingly about his dad, a tool maker, who, he said, gave him a “deep respect for the dignity of work”.

It was electrifying when you were in the room, and it was great that he walked through the audience after to an amazing reception. He even got to shake my hand 😊!

You can read the whole speech here:

Some key policy announcements

  • I really cheered at the commitment to substantially increase the percentage of social housing (close to my heart and so important to our Elmet and Rothwell communities).
  • Huge welcome for the announcement on publicly owned Great British Energy and zero carbon energy by 2030.
  • New powers to regional and local leaders.
  • A commitment to R&D spending to support innovation at the heart of a new green industrial strategy.
  • Rail re-nationalisation.
  • A promise to get 1.5 million additional Britons on the housing ladder. A real step forward in social mobility.

Fringe meetings

At a fringe event on online harms with Angela Rayner and Sadiq Khan
At a fringe event on online harms with Angela Rayner and Sadiq Khan

Some fringe events

I also got to go to some brilliant fringe events including on such important topics as online harm, social care and the cost of living crisis.

The Open Labour event I attended on ‘the Path to Power’ was excellent, more on Open Labour Open Labour What we stand for – Open Labour. One of our Leeds Labour MPs, Alex Sobel, is a founder of Open Labour and was a speaker.  It also helps when they provide great food when you’re running on empty!

The Yorkshire and Humber reception was a good event to catch up with lots of people in our great region and hear from our MPs including the newest Wakefield MP Simon Lightwood. It was great to catch up after helping in the by-election, we also had a visit from Keir.

All in all, it was a brilliant week. Conference exuded a feeling of optimism. Labour membership increased by more than 2,500 over the party’s conference, fuelled by the Conservatives’ turmoil and polls suggesting it is on course for victory.

It was great to catch up with old friends and meet some great new ones. I came away inspired that a fairer, greener future is possible and ready to fight for it. The country needs us to be in a state to be able to kick the Tories out and as a party every one of us needs to be up for the challenge and play a part however small.

Only Labour can deliver for people in Elmet and Rothwell through a Labour government, together as a united party we can do it!

Malcare WordPress Security