Party is in good heart and spirits

Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck
Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck

By the time you read this column we will be near the end of a week, which will have, personally, been one of the proudest in my life.

As chairman of the Labour Party I will have chaired my first annual conference, made a keynote speech, spoken at lots of conference events, met and talked with – and listened to – the thoughts and views of delegates from all over the country about the direction our party should be going in.

This year has been a momentous one for our party and that will have been reflected at our Brighton conference.

In June, against all the odds, as well as the predictions of our opponents and media pundits that we were heading for election wipe-out, we came within a hair’s breath of forming the next government.

Thirteen million people voted for us because they are fed-up with the social inequalities and injustices that prevail in this country.

We now have a Labour Party membership of about 500,000 – far more than any other party, and what I am certain will have come to the fore at conference is that our party is in good heart and spirits.

We are readying ourselves for a Labour government that will end social inequalities and injustices and will make sure that emergency workers and those in the public sector are paid a decent living wage.

No doubt by the time we close conference we will have had some lively debates on those and other issues, including Brexit, pay restraint, social care, housing and the investment that is needed to put Britain on a strong economic footing.

As a party leadership, we will have taken note of what was said and of what the rank-and-file membership have had to say in helping shape the policies and manifesto we believe can put Jeremy Corbyn into 10 Downing Street.

As MPs we will return to Westminster from Brighton buoyed by what I believe will have been our most successful and harmonious conference for many years.