Rule change wrangling continues on the eve of Labour conference 2021

Elliot Chappell
© Dominic Dudley/
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Anneliese Dodds has unveiled the first phase of the policy-building project launched earlier this year. Stronger Together: Labour Works showcases the work Labour is doing where it is already in power. The report is organised into two sections. The first identifies the “six big challenges facing Britain” and gives examples of where there are Labour policies in action tackling them. The second is a collection of essays, with contributions from Anas Sarwar in Scotland, the Welsh minister for the economy and Labour’s eight metro mayors. Writing exclusively for LabourList this morning, party chair Dodds tells readers: “These success stories show the difference that Labour is making right now, right across the UK. And that change can happen anywhere, at any level of government, whenever people put their trust in Labour.”

Members head down to Brighton tomorrow for conference. LabourList has been told that Keir Starmer is pushing ahead with his controversial rule changes and, although the leadership does not know what they might end up looking like, the feeling is that “there’s a deal to be done”. The Labour leader is hoping to secure support for the electoral college system at a second summit, after it fell flat at the gathering earlier this week with trade union leaders. Starmer will attend a TULO meeting today at 5pm, where apparently he hopes to peel off Usdaw, GMB and UNISON ahead of Labour’s national executive committee meeting at 7pm. There is lots of other business on the agenda for unions, however, so it may be difficult to get a deal done there unless details have been worked out beforehand.

There are complications for Starmer’s rule changes. A majority of UNISON Labour Link members are indicating that they could instruct delegates to vote against the electoral college proposal even if the union’s general secretary does a deal. They released a statement this morning. Meanwhile, Anas Sarwar has made clear that he is unimpressed with Starmer’s plans. In an interview, the Scottish Labour leader has said: “I don’t think it should be our focus. It is certainly not my focus. I’m going to conference to talk about the issues I care about.” Jackie Baillie, the Scottish rep on the NEC, has said she would push for the electoral college to include MSPs, MSs and councillors.

On LabourList today, we have plenty for readers to digest. Liz Kendall tells readers that Labour’s ambition for social care is as far reaching as Nye Bevan’s was for the NHS. “Our plans for a universal, needs-based, nationally funded, locally delivered care system are at the heart of our plans for a modernised welfare state,” she writes. And Vidhya Alakeson and Alex Smith explain how now, post-Covid, is a moment for a new politics of community and connection that Labour must seize. “The political party that demonstrates that it can harness our renewed community spirit so as to create a better, more prosperous and fair country will shape the future,” they argue. Their piece comes shortly ahead of our conference event on Monday, ‘How Labour can harness renewed community spirit to transform Britain‘, also featuring David Lammy MP, Stephen Kinnock MP and mayor Rokshana Fiaz.

Conference begins tomorrow. If you are heading down to Brighton, check out our jam-packed schedule of events. It is the first in-person annual meeting since Starmer became leader and there is set to be plenty of drama. LabourList will be there covering it all so, whether or not you are attending, stay tuned.

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