Welcome to local government week on LabourList. The party has just suffered another devastating defeat in a general election, as none of you need reminding, and members will soon be electing a new leadership team. This weekend, the Association of Labour Councillors (ALC) and the LGA Labour Group will hold a Local Government Conference in Nottingham, where the next leadership hustings is going to take place. We thought this would be the perfect time to highlight the importance of councillors – after all, it is in local government that Labour holds power across the United Kingdom.
As LGA Labour leader Nick Forbes has set out in his introductory piece to the week, we will be publishing a handful of comment pieces each day around a particular theme. Councillors, council leaders, MPs, mayors and trade unionists will share their thoughts and experiences around topics such as why Labour’s future must be local (today), how Labour councils are delivering from power (Tuesday), why local leadership matters (Wednesday), the biggest policy challenges in local government (Thursday), how Labour’s campaign strategy starts with a local fightback (Friday) and the role of local government in the party (Saturday). Throughout this time, the LabourList team will still be covering all the news of the leadership contests and more.
Labour councillors have been on the frontline of the fight against Tory austerity for many years now, and they have been doing an almost impossible job often without acknowledgement. A lot of this work needs to be celebrated and recognised. After all, Labour members often talk about the ‘Preston model’, but what other innovations are happening in local government that are receiving little attention? We’ll be learning more about that this week, with useful case studies provided by those actually responsible for the application of these ideas.
When it comes to Labour in local government, I want to know about those stories – the personal trials of councillors, the creative solutions that Labour councils have implemented, as well as the areas that need improvement. But this week won’t lack a critical eye. It has been pointed out that at the 2019 general election, there were areas of the country where Labour was in power locally and seen as ‘the establishment’. As the day-to-day reality of politics often comes down bin collections and the state of local services, some voters punished Labour by rewarding the Tories at a national level – despite those cuts being passed down from government. In too many areas, the blame game worked. This horrible irony merits discussion within the party. Stay tuned for all of this and more – we hope to be hearing from the leadership candidates, too.
- Today: LabourList’s local government week begins; Keir Starmer does Mumsnet Q&A (1.30pm); Rebecca Long-Bailey holds event in Lewisham (7.30pm)
- Wednesday: PMQs (12pm); Labour’s London Assembly selection ballots drop
- Saturday: Local government conference and hustings in Nottingham
- Sunday: Party hustings by Daily Mirror in Dudley