Labour Party Conference is proving a good event this year. Having been in Liverpool since Friday evening, I am now settled in. Sadly, I am going to Strasbourg tomorrow as I feel I should do my job in the European Parliament and go to the plenary session to vote. Party Conference often clashes with a Strasbourg session so this is not the first time I have had to make this decision.
My fringe meeting yesterday, “From pioneers to power and back a again – why have women been forgotten” on the theme of the early women MPs, what they achieved and where we are now, proved very popular. Somewhere in the region of 100 people attended, which I was very pleased about. My thanks to the three speakers – Rachel Reeves MP for Leeds North-West, Harriet Harman, Deputy Leader and Shadow International Development Secretary and Baroness Joyce Gould. A former Chief Women’s Officer, Joyce gave us invaluable insights into how we have reached our current level of female representation, achieved largely through all women short lists.
Video clips and still photos of the fringe meeting will appear on this blog in the not too distant future.
I also appeared in a short clip on BBC News 24 just after 7.00 pm yesterday evening giving my thoughts about what I would like to see at this conference. In fact, I ended up talking about the economy and how appalling George Osborne’s cuts actually are, especially for low paid workers, women and vulnerable groups.
Conference today has gone well with Harriet Harman and Jim Murphy speaking, amongst many others. I was, I have to say, impressed with Dan Jarvis, the relatively new Barnsley MP who opened the defence debate. Yesterday we heard from Margaret Hodge and the excellent she and the constituency Labour party have done in defeating the BNP in Barking.
Last but not least, I had an interesting meeting with representatives from Microsoft this morning. They fund apprenticeships in IT across the country and encourage employers to take on such apprentices, training them in IT skills which are now required for about 90 per cent of office jobs. Microsoft want to extend their programme, so if you know of any company or registered charity who may be interested in participating in the scheme, please wold you let me know.