Tom Watson to headline Progress conference with keynote speech

10th April, 2017 1:30 pm

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson will deliver the keynote speech at Progress’ annual conference this May.

Last year Jeremy Corbyn – a strong critic of Tony Blair – gave the prominent speech at the “modernisers” conference, where he spoke about the need for inclusivity in the party. His attendance was widely seen as an offering of an olive branch across factional divides.

Watson is close to the trade unions and is seen as sympathetic to Labour First, the fringe group which describes itself as “Labour’s moderates”. He was also a trusted lieutenant to Gordon Brown, whereas Progress is inspired by Tony Blair.

This year’s conference, which is to be held on May 13 days after metro mayor and local elections, is entitled State of the Brexit nation. It takes place at the TUC’s London building.

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress annual conference is the event of our calendar. Having the deputy leader Tom Watson as keynote speaker is a great honour.”

“The conference comes in the aftermath of the mayoral, county, Scottish and Welsh local elections. It is a key time to review the party’s national performance and make a case to the country about the kind of post-Brexit Britain we seek to create.”

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