Labour Party conference 2015 was a breath of fresh air & extremely positive

01 Oct 2015

This week’s Labour Party conference was a breath of fresh air and extremely positive for the party. We saw Jeremy Corbyn give an impressive leader’s speech (see video here) which, along with other key policy announcements in areas such as housing, education, transport and welfare, started to set out a clear agenda on tackling the cost of living crisis that will win for Labour in 2020.

Additionally, John McDonnell’s passionate critique of ideologically driven austerity (see video here) – and his articulate explanation of the alternatives – showed why he will be an excellent Shadow Chancellor.

At my first conference as Shadow Development Minister I was delighted to make an address to conference setting out Labour’s priorities in the area of international development. This was covered in the Evening Standard ( see here ) whose report noted my belief that, “The test of the next Labour government’s development policies will not just be getting money out of the door or how many highly paid consultants we employ, but how we change the lives of women in some of the world’s poorest countries.” I also made it clear that I would not be voting for bombing Syria.

I was also honoured to speak in the Britain in the World seminar.

The conference passed resolutions overwhelmingly on a number of important issues, including alternatives to austerity, promoting a humanitarian and extensive response to the refugee crisis, and setting out clear conditions regarding UK military intervention in Syria.

I was also privileged to speak at numerous fringe events and receptions, including:

* The Development Champions Roundtable
* The Rally for International Development
* The Women, Work and Wages event organised by Oxfam and the Labour Women’s network
* The Labour Assembly Against Austerity, Stop the War Coalition and Stand up to Racism fringe meetings
* The Guardian Live Debate – How can Labour win back power?
* An IPPR fringe on Is the party over: What can Labour do to rebuild and renew itself?
* The Liberty fringe on Save Our Human Rights Act
* The One Campaign event on the final evening.

At these events I was able to both lay out our priorities for international development and express my support for Jeremy’s leadership and inclusive way of doing politics.

I hope you will join me and 100,000s of others in joining Labour (if you are not yet a member, you can join here) and uniting behind our newly elected leadership campaign to win in 2020.

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