Labour Conference 2014: Liveblog

16.00: The Red Flag, Jerusalem and now – for LabourList at least – time to go home. It has been a long week, and there will be more coverage of what we’ve seen and learned from these days in Manchester over the coming days and weeks. But it has been an absolute pleasure to meet so many of our readers this year in our incredibly successful LabourList Marquee, and to bring you this liveblog from the first moment of conference until the last.

Until next year – our Conference Liveblog comes to a close. Thanks for being part of it.

Tent bye

15.43: Harriet harman is now giving the closing conference speech. We’re nearly at the end everyone. It has been a long week, but it’s nearly at a close…

15.23: Douglas Alexander is now up giving his General Election report – and he warns Labour will face a “personal, vicious and nasty campaign” from the Tories.

15.16: De Blasio was hugely impressive and got a lengthy standing ovation there. Won’t be the last we’ll hear of him I’m sure. Future US President anyone?

14.56: It looks like there will be an emergency shadow cabinet meeting in Manchester at 4.30pm today after conference closes to discuss the unfolding situation in the Middle East (airstrikes in particular).

14.45: We’ve just been dismantling our conference marquee, but in the main hall New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (this year’s International Guest Speaker and darling of the US progressives) is giving a speech to conference. He’s an impressive figure, and is weaving a story about society, inequality and the cost of living crisis. To give a speech like this about another country is an impressive feat – he’s getting particular applause for taking on “conventional wisdom”.

12.57: Angela Eagle MP – ‘societies that are unequal are unsustainable…we need to look to how we can recreate structures in our economy locally that can give some power back to communities and address the imbalance of power we see in our labour markets.’

12.34: The final event of the week in the (highly successful) LabourList Marquee is about to start. Hosted by Thompsons Solicitors, Kevin Maguire, Owen Smith, Angela Eagle, Lord John Monks and Hugh Lanning are discussing a workers’ pledge.

12.05: “It’s time for us to complete Nye Bevan’s vision and bring social care into the NHS.” – Andy Burnham getting a predictably good reception in the main hall.

Andy Burnham

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 12.09.56

11.49: Catherine Atkinson, PPC for Erewash, just won the hearts of Conference by bringing her baby onstage:

Catherine Atkinson

10.15: For those who missed the Mirror Party last night, imagine many MPs, activists, journalists and trade unionists having their photo taken outside the Rovers Return (with drinks thrown in). This photo is a particular favourite, and gives a flavour of the night:

balls mccluskey Rovers

Wednesday 10.00am: Tired and drained delegates and activists wake in Manchester this morning for the final morning of Labour conference. The lobbyists and corporates have begun to trickle away from Manchester after Miliband’s speech yesterday – but there’s still plenty happening today. Spirits were a little higher last night, perhaps because most people know they’re about to go home after a bruising few weeks here and in Scotland – or perhaps for some, it’s because they’d been dancing on Coronation Street last night at the Mirror’s conference party.

So what’s on the agenda for conference today?

– Yvette Cooper is confirming an announcement we got earlier this week, the abolition of PCCs. The money will be spent on 1,000 new police officers instead. She’s also announcing a National Refuge Fund to provide up to £3million per annum over the next Parliament to support the continuation of a national network of refuges.

– Sadiq Khan will be pushing for electronic voting and opening polling stations a week in advance of election day in high profile spots like libraries and supermarkets to encourage early voting in a speech on constitutional reform and encouraging people to vote. He’ll also push Cameron to allow 16 and 17 year olds the vote.

– Andy Burnham will be fleshing out some of the detail around the NHS and social care announcements from Miliband’s speech yesterday.

And of course there’s the international guest speaker Bill de Blasio (the Mayor of New York), Ed Miliband’s Q&A – and Harriet Harman’s conference closing speech. For those who love the conference traditions, we’ll also be on conference floor at the close of the day to sing the Red Flag.

17.05: Survation will have 1,000 respondents eventually but at the moment data is from 500 people because they’re still collating data.

On Ed’s speech: world class healthcare came first, followed by minimum wage (positive:66%, negative 18%), joint third was apprenticeships (positive 57%, 17%) and self employment (positive 57%, negative 17%),  then house building (positive 51%, negative 21%) and lastly was carbon environment (positive 50%, negative 20) – and because it’s at 500 people the margin of error is just under 4.5%.

On Syria, 40% of people believe the UK should be involved following a UN resolution.

16.44: Damian Lyons Lowe from Survation looks at exclusive polling, which they are still processing.

But first looks suggests, on funding for the NHS (funded by windfall tax on tobacco companies, clamping down on tax avoiders and a mansion tax) –  71% of people support and 15% oppose.

Damian says the least popular policy at the moment looks to be breaking up high st banks – 43% support that.

On Syria Survation asked: ‘the US and five arab allies have launched the first air strikes against Islamic State militants – today ed miliband at the Labour party conference has called for a UN security council resolution on syria to counter ISIL before the UK is commits to participating in the conflict taking action‘. Weighted in terms of gender and region, it looks like: 27% say the UK shouldn’t be involved at all, 36% believe the UK should having backing with a UN resolution ,and 19% say the UK should intervene regardless..

16.38:  An audience member says they’re disappointed with the policy on wage, because it’s a compromise on what we should have had which is Living Wage. This is an issue a lot of people have been saying over the last couple of days. Mark Ferguson says that an £8 minimum wage will poll well but because it’s by 2020 it’s not necessarily so great. But, he does say it’s in the right direction of travel.

16.26: Jon Trickett says – “I believe in leadership rather than followership. The Labour party must offer a clear lead. People have turned off politics the speech tried to bring forward policies illustrative of Labour’s values. But it was equally to show a much bigger picture – to say we must make a clean break with the recent past.”

16.21: Stephanie Peacock PPC, as a former teacher, says if we’re going to have votes at 16 we must strengthen citizenship.

16.15: Mark Ferguson says a lot of what Miliband said was expected, apart from the hypothecated tax for the NHS. He says he thinks it was an “ok” speech and the mood of conference has been flat. Miliband needed to give an excellent speech to change that. But he also says for other people who aren’t necessarily members of the Labour party – a lot of these policies are relatively knew to people out there, and relatively popular.

16.11: Our event has just kicked off -we’re discussing Miliband’s speech including polling from Survation. Keep following the liveblog to find out what’s being said.

15.47: Come over the LabourList marquee NOW. We’re about to get started with our event where we’ll have the quickest reaction to the leader’s speech and exclusive polling from Survation that shows what people think this means for the 8-months ahead.

15.37: Nope, he’s finished! Expected a little more rambunctious ending.

15.35: Over an hour in now, with about fifteen minutes left. Expect a step-up now.

15.33: David Cameron has “been found out” – people aren’t buying his photo-ops and spin anymore. “He changed his party’s logo to a tree before the election, and then tried to sell off the forests after the election.”

15.31: Standing ovation count: 3. This time for saying that his Dad loved Britain.

15.28: Back onto Middle East, but on Israel and Palestine. A two state solution is going to be a “major task of the next Labour Government”.

15.27: Cameron’s failure to block the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker to the EU presidency shows that his strategy on Europe has failed, leaving UK more excluded.

15.25: “Our future lies inside, not outside, the European Union.” But Europe needs reform.

15.24: On Scotland: “The injustices facing working people are right across the United Kingdom. We must tackle them together.”

15.21: We need to devolve power to local government, Ed says.

15.19: 20,000 new nurses, 8,000 new GPs, 3,000 new midwives and 5,000 home care workers were the numbers he announced earlier.

Now we’re onto giving the v0te to 16 year olds and reforming the Lords.

15.17: Another standing ovation as Ed reminds us Labour will repeal the Tories Health Reform Act. “We will do it together!”

15.16: President Obama is making his statement on ISIS airstrikes right now.

15.15: How will we pay for the NHS? Closing tax loopholes, a mansion tax on houses over £2million, and a tax on tobacco companies.

15.14: First standing ovation, 45 minutes in, as Miliband pledges more doctors and nurses.

15.12: Housing will be the top priority for capital investment spending over the next parliament.

15.11: Labour will aim to double the number of first-time buyers.

15.07: Ed introduces a young apprentice (she’s training as an electrician, I think?) for two rounds of applause. The Government is “rubbish” on apprenticeships. We need to tackle the failure of Government, and then encourage businesses. If businesses want to bring in a foreign worker, they have to take on an apprentice.

15.07: There is no greater problem than tackling climate change. We will take all carbon out of electricity by 2030.

15.06: Pledge to insulate 5 million homes over the next five years.

15.04: Or not. Quickly moved on to self-employed. “They just want a fair shot,” he says. Their tough time is “21st century discrimination.”

15.03: Devolution now. UK is “too centralised”.

15.01: Hmm. Miliband says the minimum wage will be “over £8 by 2020”. I think it was just £8 the other day.

15.00: “Our first goal: We will halve the number of people in low pay by 2020.”

14.58: Ed now setting out a ten year plan. “Why ten years. People are fed up of politicians saying ‘Vote for me, and everything will change on day one.'”

14.57: “The British people can’t afford another five years of David Cameron.”

14.56: “The record of this Government isn’t mediocre; it’s one of the worst ever.”

14.54: Who won’t be on their own? Bankers worried about their bonuses. Osborne’s looking out for you, he says.

14.52: Panto season started early. “Can the Tories be answer?” only got a murmur of “No” from the crowd, so he repeated it until they said “NO!” loud enough.

14.51: “It’s time we ran the country how we know it can be run.”

14.50: Miliband repeats “our brilliant National Health Service”, seemingly to make sure it gets a clap!

14.47: One idea helped build our greatest institutions. One idea can help “build the future”. The idea is “Together”.

14.46: “You’re on your own doesn’t work for you, doesn’t work for your family, doesn’t work for Britain.”

14.44: Too many people have been told “You’re on your own.” Wealth, power, influence is only accessible to a privileged few.

14.42: Miliband not doing a podium speech, as many thought he might. There is an idea that standing behind a lectern makes you look more serious. Doing a walk about speech shows some confidence.

Is it no notes too? Can’t see any screens in there.

14.41: “Labour’s plan for Britain’s future” – the Conference slogan gets it first outing.

14.38: In Scotland, he says he met a woman called Josephine who wasn’t sure how she was going to vote. She thought the company she worked for was decent – but the wages were rubbish. She didn’t want to leave the Union, but thought it might be for the best. Miliband trying to reach out to Yes voters here, showing he understands their concerns.

14.36: Miliband leads a round of applause for Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, Douglas Alexander, Johann Lamont, Margaret Curran and Jim Murphy for their roles in the Scottish referendum campaign.

14.35: He’s moved on now – will he revisit foreign policy?

14.34: “We will never turn our backs on the world. We will never turn our backs on internationalism.”

14.32: First topic up is ISIL and the Middle East. “We support the overnight action against ISIL.”

14.31: Miliband has come out onto the stage, and we’re ready to go!

14.12: We’ve just seen Ed Miliband go into the conference cente, so we’re expecting the speech to start imminently. We’re here in a packed LabourList Marquee watching it on the big tellies, and will be liveblogging it all right here.

12.07: Caroline Flint has just spoken to Conference.  She confirmed that as well as freezing energy bills, Labour will help people to cut them by insulating homes and giving half a million free home energy reports a year, which will pinpoint how people can save energy.

Tuesday, 09.51: There’s a buzz in the air today ahead of Ed Miliband’s last leader’s speech before the general election. As we reported last night, rumours are circulating that he’s set to pledge a mansion tax to pay for the NHS. But these are just rumours at the moment.

18.38: There are rumours that trade union delegates walked out of a fringe event that Mary Creagh, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, was speaking at because they felt that she was contradicting the rail policy that was agreed upon at the National Policy Forum. We’ll let you know when we hear more…

18:09: David Lammy is speaking to the audience now, he asks why fatherhood isn’t on the political grid in the way it should be. He also says we have to challenge assumptions not just on the right of the political spectrum, but also on the left. He says we’ve rightfully fought hard for advances of women but we can’t rule fathers out of the conversation.

17.33: Latest event is kicking off now, about why we need to engage with dads as well as mums in vulnerable families. Shane Ryan from Working with Men starts us off.

16.32: A source here in Manchester has sent us the following update: ‘How long until the English devolution debate spills into the Lords? A senior Labour member of the Lords this morning told me that it’s being talked about in the background and that regional senates could be on the agenda.’

16.25: Owen Smith, Shadow Welsh Secretary, spoke to conference earlier. On Scotland, he’s said “We will never play the nationalist game of divide and rule”. But he echoes the tone of many of the other speakers from today when he says the referendum showed people want change.

15.56: Another update from a delegate – ‘Rachel Reeves has set out a coherent 6 step approach to tackle the shambles created by IDS, and she spoke with real passion. One highlight drawing applause was a pledge to devolve responsibility for youth employment programmes to councils and communities.’

14.52: Johann Lamont, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, has just finished addressing Conference. She also talked about the referendum and explaining, “It would be wrong to celebrate a referendum victory without asking how we got there in the first place. People want change.” She said that it is incumbent on the Labour party to be that change, ending in a flourish:

“Let us be the crusade the Labour Party was put on earth to be. We are the change makers. Let us change the world”

14.39: Alistair Darling, Chair of the Better Campaign, takes to the stage and offers thanks for people who campaigned for the NO vote in Scotland. He also stresses that “we must engage and nurture the support of people who don’t have any close affiliation to our party”. 

13.23: Graham Jones says says that anyone encouraging working class candidates should be celebrated, even the Tories. But says maybe it would be better if Tories stopped bashing working class MPs and trade unions, pointing the finger at The Times’ Tim Montgomerie, who is sat at the back.

13.21: Jennie Formby responds to audience point about encouraging not just working class candidates, but those from BAME backgrounds too. “It’s something we must work to do better in our unions as well,” she says.

13.18: Lisa Forbes doesn’t believe that ‘Red Princes’ are one of the biggest issues we face. “Lots of kids look up to their mums and dads and want to emulate them.”

13.15: David Skelton says the “issue about ‘Red Princes’ is key – lots of Labour’s selections look aristocratic”. However, he takes issue with Formby’s view that more working class MPs would have meant there were never policies like Right to Buy – he says a poll of Unite members last year showed overwhelming support for the policy.

13.12: Jennie Formby says Unite backing people in selections isn’t just about whether they are a Unite member and work in a factory, but whether they share they Unite’s politics.

13.07: Graham Jones agrees with a point from an audience member about the use of ‘social mobility’ – “No party has really come to grips with the idea that actually, a lot of people are happy living on the council estate, and they have very different aspirations to ones parties understand.”

13.00: “Trade unions have been very important at improving working class representation over the past 100 years,” says David Skelton, “but we mustn’t peddle the myth that a working class MP is the same as a trade union MP.”

12.57: David Skelton is speaking now – he’s the director of Renewal, an organisation attempting to broaden Tory Party appeal (especially among working class voters). He too talks about disengagement, “which is one of the biggest problems facing all political parties”.

12.54: Jones has some strong words for trade unions, saying that in a lot of selections they do not back working class candidates and need to address that.

12.50: Jones says “The day after I was elected I went down to the factory where I worked and clocked in for my shift – using a clocking-in machine – how many MPs can say that?”

12.48: Graham Jones, MP for Hyndburn, speaking now. He talks about a “political disconnect” – “It’s not just in Scotland, you can go anywhere around the north west and knock on doors and people will tell you about the Westminster Elite.”

12.42: Jennie Formby from Unite speaking now. She says that having more working class MPs is important for improving representation of people’s views:  “If you’ve never been without, it is so much harder to understand – I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it is harder.”

12.35: This morning, we’ve heard from Chuka Umunna, Vernon Coaker and Len McCluskey in the main hall, while Ed Balls took to the stage about ten minutes ago – so we’re only about an hour behind schedule there!

In the LabourList Marquee, our event on working class MPs has just kicked off. Chair Maya Goodfellow kicks us off, introducing first speaker Lisa Forbes, PPC for Peterborough. Forbes highlights how “a huge barrier is finance” – saying it is very expensive to stand for selection, let alone at a general election.

10.00: We’ve just been e-mailed in the following update from a delegate at conference, if you’re in Manchester and have any updates, e-mail us at: [email protected]

At 9.25 it was Standing room only at exchange room 3-4 where we’re hearing about ideas to tackle stubbornly high youth unemployment. It’s about employers as well as employes, says Jenny North, from Impetus PEF: “We could have the most ready for work young people in the world and still have a youth unemployment problem.”

09.29: How do we equip young people to go into enterprises and develop an entrepreneurial spark, is the question in the youth zone early this morning (Young people and enterprise). Barry Sheerman MP was robust in his views, saying: “High class mentoring and access to crowd funding can lead to a revolution in youth enterprise. More and more women are coming through as chief executives and as the inspiration for these organisations.”

Monday, 08.27: We’re back, less than twelve hours after you last heard from us!

Big speeches today from Chuka Umunna and Rachel Reeves, as well as the much-trailed Ed Balls address at 11am. Read our preview of the Balls speech here.

LabourList have three events in our Marquee today. At 12.30, we ask “What is a working class MP and how do we get more of them?” At 2pm, we look at how we build the homes Britain needs, and at 5.30 there is a panel discussion on engaging with dads in vulnerable families.

20.29: “The Labour movement will never be silenced!” says Jim Murphy. “I was heckled by a horse wearing a Yes Scotland blanket and barked at by a dog that had ‘FREEDOM’ written on it in biro.”

20.26: Jim Murphy on the stage now – the audience is a little more friendly that he’s been used to recently!

20.15: Former LabourList columnist done good (Mark Ferguson’s words) Owen Jones comes to the stage. “Labour, you’re looking pretty damn beautiful tonight. How could I not be Labour, looking around this room?”

20.11: Polly Billington, the candidate in Thurrock, says “In 1979 Lisa Nandy was born, Ian Lavery was a miner and I, at the age of ten, made my first political banner. Because I knew when I was ten I hated the Tories. And by the time I was 16 I knew why, and I knew why I was Labour.”

20.08: “We don’t stand against Nigel Farage simply for what he stands for, but because of what we stand for.” – Stella Creasy

20.05: “Know that we have the worst record in the world for social mobility,” says Stella Creasy.

20.02: Amine Lone says “I was pregnant at 18, a mother of two by 2020 and a single mother by 30. I’m a brown, dyslexic woman and under the Conservatives I am Broken Britain. Under Labour, I am a parliamentary candidate.”

19.59: Yvette Cooper was on a minute ago. She said: “I’m Labour because I believe we’re stronger when stand together than when we leave people to sink or swim alone.”

19.57: “I’m Labour because Margaret Thatcher stole my milk,” says Amina Lone, PPC for Morecambe and Lunesdale.

19.51: Umunna: “We left this country in an immeasurably better shape than when we found it.”

19.49: “Ultimately, it is only this party,” says Chuka Umunna, “that allows people to achieve their hopes and dreams.”

19.33: Ian Lavery says “I told me Dad I was thinking of joining another party. Me Dad was a miner, 6 foot 4 and built like a brick… He was 6 foot 4, anyway. And he said ‘Son, I love you, and I think the world of you. But if you don’t support Labour I’ll break your neck.”

19.31: When people try to divide others, Khan says, “it is our job to unite them.”

19.27: Sadiq Khan says “The best rally of the week is the LabourList rally!”

19.21: “I think it’s incumbent on me and everyone here to ensure that every child has the right to a home, an education and good health,” says Chi Onwurah MP.

19.15: Mark Ferguson introduces “one of the brightest sparks of the 2010 intake, Lisa Nandy”.

“I believe that Labour remains to this day the best vehicle for social justice this country has,” she says.

19.13: “I tell this to my comrades in other left political parties: Labour is the only way to beat the Tories,” says McCluskey.

“Ed Miliband has done a fantastic job at keeping us together,” he adds, to the laughter of the room, “Yeah, yeah, including me.”

19.10: Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union, tells he is Labour because “Labour stands for justice, fairness, decency and equality – and it has always stood for that.”

19.07: Rowenna Davis, PPC for Southampton Itchen, tells us how the first political campaign she was involved in was when she was 15 – her and her friends boycotted the horrible and unhealthy meals they were given at school!

19.02: Owen Smith, the Shadow Wales Secretary says “I’m Labour by birth, I’m Labour by culture, I’m Labour by conviction.”

18.58: Eddie Izzard opens our rally, “Why We’re Labour”. He tells us he didn’t join Labour until he was 35, but now he loves campaign for the Party. “I’m going to try and get to every marginal this time.” Let’s hold him to that!

18.20: Hillary Benn spoke on Labour’s devolution plans earlier, paraphrasing President Kennedy as he did: “No longer ‘what will you do for me?’ but ‘what shall we do for ourselves?'”

He said:

“Our new deal is for all parts of England. Conference, this will be the biggest economic decentralisation in a century. But it won’t be enough.

We will go further in changing the way decisions are made so that we can free local communities, the people of England, to shape their own destiny.

Not something cooked up in corridors of Whitehall, but a deeper, more profound change involving people from every part of the country.

A national debate – leading up to a Constitutional Convention – as fervent and as involved as the one that paved the way for devolution in Scotland.”

17.43: The Scottish Labour No campaign bus has just rolled up outside Conference – and the crowd goes wild:

Labour No

16.56: Former Transport Secretary Sadiq Khan speaking in the LabourList Marquee now. Recalls when Andrew Adonis was dubbed “the Thin Controller” for his nationalisation policy. As his junior, Khan earned the moniker “the Short Controller”.

16.55: Audience members asks about how TTIP would affect plans to renationalise the railways?

16.41: Big cheer for Kevin Maguire’s call for Maria Eagle to be Transport Secretary if Labour win next year…

16.35: Maria Eagle, former Shadow Transport, says “There’s a reason no other country in the world runs their railways like we do – it doesn’t work!”

16.31: Mark Ferguson channels Kinnock, slams the “grotesque spectacle” of workers having to get three buses ten miles to get to their jobs, because they can’t afford the direct train.

16.28: Kevin Maguire, introducing our very own Mark Ferguson, praises LabourList as a “great forum for debate”.

16.24: In the LabourList Marquee, Katy Clark MP says she’s pleased to follow Mick Whelan from ASLEF, and praises their commitment to a No vote in the Scottish referendum.

16.19: Nancy Platts, Brighton Kemptown PPC, says that public ownership of the railways is a vote-winning policy”. Kevin Maguire jokes that he’s “always wondered what Labour leadership has against policies that are vote-winners.”

16.16: In Gloria De Piero’s speech earlier, she focussed on social mobility:

“We talk a lot about smashing glass ceilings and rightly so but the Labour Party will never forget about the people who can’t even get through the door of the building.
Because if you’re born poor, you are more likely to stay poor in this country than in other wealthy nations.

There are ladders that can be used to climb up and get on but they aren’t being extended to everyone.

Politics, law, journalism, business – wonderful jobs. But they still operate like closed-shops.”

16.11: Jon Cruddas has just praised the work Maria Eagle did at Shadow Transport between 2010 and 2013, at the TSSA public ownership of the railways event in the LabourList Marquee.

15.26: Johanna Baxter takes to the stage and gives an impassioned speech about the outcome of the referendum. Her message: “solidarity should not and does not stop at any border” – before stressing that power must be “ripped from elites” and spread across a democratic united kingdom.

She ends on a moving note: “Thank you to my fellow Scots… it’s you that put Westminster on its final warning.” 

15.16: Tristram Hunt, Shadow Secretary of State for Education addresses conference. His message: “great teaching is the surest route to social mobility”

He says the next Labour government is committed to ensuring there is “child care reform, a world class teacher in every classroom, and an education system that works for the forgotten 50%”. He reiterates the leadership’s pledge to “end the Tory attack on Sure Start”, to re-establishing the “negotiating Body for the lowest paid”  (scrapped by Gove), and to strengthening the vocational education system.

14.47: The topic of conversation at the moment is Education and Children. Mari Williams a former teacher and PPC for Cardiff North addresses Conference tells the room: “only Labour can make a difference [in education]…we care about all children” – the difference between the Tories’ and Labour’s education policy shows “it does make a difference who’s in government.”

13.39: At the Labour Coast and Country fringe event in the LabourList marquee, Maria Eagle MP speaking to a packed room, alongside chair Hywel Lloyd and Lord Knight, said:

“I’m sick of hearing people say that Labour has a rural problem. I think that rural Britain has a Tory problem. Because this Tory-led Government has spent the last four and a half years tearing up the fabric of rural communities.” Whereas ‘Labour will be thinking about how everything we do in Government plays out in non-city Britain”

She also said she intends to play a role in making sure Labour ‘make more of’ climate change.

12.44: Angela Eagle, chair of the National Policy Forum, has just addressed conference asking them to agree with Labour’s policy platform, which she called a “contract between us in the Labour party and the British people”.

11:48: Now Gloria de Piero and Jon Ashworth (who are focussing on member mobilisation) are talking to members and volunteers on stage. They’re also taking one of their “Labour Express” buses out on the doorstep over conference too.

11:36: General Secretary Iain McNicol now making his annual conference speech, praising members for their work over the past year. We’re expecting a focus on the work of members and volunteers this morning in this opening plenary session. He’s also paying tribute to those who we’ve lost in the past year.

11:25: A touching moment at the start of Labour conference as those in the Labour movement who have died in the past year are remembered – and there have been far too many in the past year. A moment of applause follows, and now we move onto awards for members who have given long service to the party.

Sunday 11:15: Morning everyone, and welcome to our LabourList conference liveblog. We’ll be bringing you all of the news from Labour Conference in Manchester this week, from conference floor to fringe events (including our own fringes) and everything in between. Got something to tell us about conference? At a fringe meeting you think we should be covering? Got gossip, rumours or news for us? Email us at [email protected] and you can be a part of it.

You can also join us in our LabourList Marquee for our great set of events across conference week, where we’ll also be running this Liveblog each day. Want to come and say hello to the LabourList team? Just come in and say hi – you’re what makes LabourList what it is, and we want to hear from you.

This morning we’ve already had announcements on raising the Minimum Wage, scrapping Police and Crime Commissioners – and Chuka Umunna wants rid of the Lords. We’re expecting plenty more where that came from as the week progresses – and our editor Mark Ferguson has outlined what “Labour’s Plan for Britain’s Future” might look like.

Ed Miliband has just arrived in the secure zone ready for the first plenary session of the conference – where Angela Eagle is giving her opening speech – so let the liveblog commence.

Liveblog Conference

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