East of England Labour Party Regional ConferenceFriday 13th- Sunday 15th November
This year’s conference was held in Stevenage, the CWU Eastern Region delegation consisted of Andy Beeby Eastern 5, Sue Lewis CCTV, Mark Toner, Paul Gilchrist, Steve Pitt all Eastern 4 and Jim Webb South East Anglia.
Conference started at 1000 on the Saturday morning, but was overshadowed by the tragic events that happened in Paris on Friday evening, and saw conference stand for a minute’s silence to show solidarity with the French.
This act of terrorism meant that Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn who was to be the key note speaker, could not attend as he had to stay in London for security briefings.
Every Speaker expressed solidarity to the people of France and sympathy for the Families of those who had been killed in the attacks, whilst out enjoying the start of the weekend.
Sharon Taylor Leader of Stevenage Borough Council was the first speaker of the morning; she spoke about how Stevenage had been Labour controlled council since 1971 but had failed to win the seat at the general election.
And that her council was facing a 40% cut in funding from central government this is on top of the 40% since 2010.
We then had the conference Arrangement Committee report, and election of Tellers hard copy to follow.
The next speaker was Cameron Scott the new Regional Director; Cameron informed us that this was the biggest regional conference the Party had ever held in the East of England.
He said that in spite of the disappointment of the general election result in the East we have much to be optimistic about; the Party membership in the region had more than doubled. This rapid rise began on May 8th and continued through the leadership contest and beyond.
Cameron then went on to explain the changes at Regional Office; the new team consists of Regional Organisers Teddy Ryan and Olivia Vaughan, Communications Officer Graham Moonie and Regional Administrator Hannah Johnson.
European Report Richard Howitt MEP it is clear that David Cameron will call the European Referendum sometime between April and September 2016, Jeremy Corbyn has made a clear statement that the Party will campaign to stay in Europe, by setting up Britain in campaign which is to be headed up by Alan Johnson.
All Labour MEP’s have voted against the TTIP Bill and will continue to do so.
Labour In For Britain campaign Pat McFaddon MP Shadow Europe Minister spoke on why we should stay in Europe below are a few points that he made
➢ Biggest decision for a generation, will have a big impact on how the world see’s the UK
➢ We must be engaged with Europe to influence change
➢ ½ of the UK’s exports go to Europe
➢ All of our employment rights, have come out of Europe
➢ We will have to pay to deal with Europe but have no say on how it works
➢ European Socialists want UK to stay in and are willing to come and soeak at any meeting.
We then had a Q&A session with 3 of the Regions MP’s Daniel Zeichner, Kelvin Hopkins and Gavin Shuker, the main question was is the Party going to unite behind Jeremy Corbyn.
(KH) only 20 MP’s nominated him, but it was the Party who elected him not the PLP.
(DZ) as MP’s we must unite behind the leader, its only a few who have access to the media, we need to put it all behind us and get Labour elected again in 2020.
The afternoon session started with John Clemper Leader of Harlow District Council giving the Local Government Report.
We have 417 local councillors in the East with half of them in opposition and only 190 in control.
Labours Housing Policy Teresa Pearce MP Shadow Housing Minister
➢ Home ownership is the lowest for 3 decades
➢ To buy in 2010 you needed £43,000 deposit now 63,000
➢ £816 per month is the average rent in a private retail house that up 20% since 2010
➢ Right to buy 3,000 have been sold and only 500 new houses built that’s 1in 6
➢ Local elections in 2016 Housing must be at the heart of the campaign.
John Ashworth MP Shadow Minister without Portfolio Holding the Tories to Account
➢ 6 months on from the GE we have seen a number of broken promises from the Tories.
➢ Party of the Workers Steel works closed down
➢ Party of Labour the Trade Union Bill
➢ Before election no to Tax Credit cuts now They have tried and failed
➢ We need to win back votes to Labour by listening to peoples concerns.
Seema Malhotra MP Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Campaigning Against cuts to Tax Credits
➢ George Osbourne is hurting people not helping them
➢ Studies has proved that people will be £1300 worse off, will hit families and businesses as people will have no money to spend.
➢ Osbourne will try and readdress this in mini budget on 25th November
Jim Webb asked the question There are £20 Billion in uncollected taxes, are you going to remind Mr Osbourne to collect them?
Answer The Tories have turned a blind eye, they have imposed cuts to HMRC so that they can’t do their job and collect them.
Day 2 Sunday 15th
TULO Report Sam Older from Unison moved the report on behalf of TULO
➢ The affiliated Unions had supported all Labour candidates at the GE
➢ Unions had backed Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership election
➢ He spoke a litte about the Trade Union Bill
Resolutions and Rule Changes
Motion 1 The Trade Union Bill GMB, Unison. Unite
See Attached for motion
This was carried unanimously
Motion 2 Labour Party Trade Union Link
This was carried unanimously
Motion 3 Austerity and Public Services
Parliamentary / General Election Campaign Report
Lisa Forbes the PPC from Peterborough gave a report on the general election, she made the following points
➢ We lost the election in the last week, Miliband was not popular
➢ We had no credibility with the electorate
➢ A massive that’s must go to the Trade Unions for their help and support
➢ We must all now unite behind Jeremy Corbyn
➢ Social media will play a big part in future campaigns
National Policy Forum Report
This was given by Alex Mayer she made these points
➢ We need new ideas moving to 2020 election
➢ Information will be sent out to all Party members giving contact details of all NPF representatives, new ideas can be sent to them.
Richard Howitt closed conference and we sang the traditional songs
Branch Political Officer
Eastern Number 5