We sent two delegates to Conference this year. Other members travelled down to Brighton to attend fringe events. Attending conference as a delegate or visitor is always a worthwhile and informative experience. Here is the report from one of our delegates, Margaret Thomas
The conference opened officially at 2.30pm with speeches by Dawn Butler and Jennie Formby. There were a great variety of topics proposed for discussion by the unions and CLPs with Brexit and Green New Deal having the most submissions. (See CAC report 1 for all topics).
I attended the Labour Women’s reception after the main conference hosted by Dawn Butler. Issues highlighted were period poverty, violence against women, maternity leave and inequality of pay.
In the evening we attended the London Labour Reception.
The main debates of the morning were on Early Years, Education and Skills, followed by Health and Social Care.
Angela Rayner gave an inspiring speech and committed the Labour party to life-long learning, improving and investing in schools and abolishing private education.
There were 2 composite motions on Education, I voted for the second. (See CAC report 2).
The Health and Social Care speech by Jonathon Ashworth promised a Social Care system run on NHS principles.
The second NHS composite motion was proposed by Sutton and Cheam.
The afternoon saw the Justice and Home affairs report.
The motion from the Women’s conference on Rights for Migrant Women was debated. With one of the key issues to protect them from violence and to have safe provision.
I attended a fringe event Tackling Bandit Capitalism on Your Doorstep hosted by UNITE. Attended by Corbyn, Macdonnell and Andrew Gwynne. Debating insourcing public services.
After attending the BBQ on the beach we dropped into the JVL fringe meeting. This was interesting and very supportive of the labour position and emphasising that disapproval of some of Israel’s actions is not anti-Semitic.
The morning saw reports on Works, Pensions & Equality with motions from the Women’s conference on Universal Credit and an emergency motion on justice for rape survivors.
John Macdonnell gave his speech on Economy, Business and Trade.
With composite motions on Industrial Strategy, Insourcing, Working Hours, Employment Rights and Royal Mail.
This was followed by the Brexit strategy statement.
The day started with emergency motions on Kashmir and Fires in the Amazon.
The main discussions were on the Green New Deal which had 2 strong motions giving a framework for a comprehensive policy on the environment.
The events of the week led to the leaders speech being delivered on Tuesday instead of Wednesday moving the rest of the business to the following day. Jeremy Corbyn’s speech was well received by conference, leaving us all enthused and ready to fight a general election.
Other important motions were on homelessness and housing, local authority cuts, High Streets and Corporate governance. Delegates stories from round the country show the huge levels of poverty and decay caused by many years of austerity to a degree that we do not really see in our area or even in other parts of London.
I also attended a fringe meeting about free school meals for all children. Sharon Hodgson spoke about the Swedish model where all children and teachers sit down together to eat a meal at lunchtime.