Ed Miliband at Labour Party Conference

Labour Party

Here’s the third and last of the videos from the London Labour Party reception at Labour’s Conference in Manchester earlier this year. Ken Livingstone is available here, and Harriet Harman here. After the formal announcement of the Leadership election result Ed was due to speak at the London Labour Party reception. Hundreds of people piled into the room in anticipation. The demands of the media meant that Ed was diverted to do interviews.

The room eased a little, but as soon as Ed arrived after a little delay the room was the place to be. The fervour at the beginning of the meeting shows how keenly Ed’s speech was anticipated. The video is just over 6 minutes long and covers, Ken, Harriet and London of course.

If Boris wins Mayor he’ll challenge Cameron for Tory Leadership

Labour Party

Ken Livingstone always hits the spot. Speaking at the London Labour Party biennial conference today, Ken was utterly convinced that if Boris wins another term as London Mayor he will seek to become the Leader of the Conservative Party.  Watch your back David Cameron!

Ken was as good value as ever promising to keep fares lower than Boris Johnson should he be elected in 2012. He told us that London could show the way for the rest of the country during the next few years if a Labour Mayor worked with the Leader of the Labour Party in much the same way as Herbert Morrison’s London County Council had led social reform in the 1930s.

Opening the Conference, Regional Director Ken Clark paid tribute to Karen Buck MP and Andrew Slaughter MP, both of whom held on to their seats despite the onslaught of the Ashcroft millions. In a powerful speech came up with the appalling statistic that the average 21-year-old in London today will be 52 before she or he can afford to buy a home in the capital such are the effects of the Coalition’s housing cuts. She also put her success down to very hard work over a lengthy period of time.

This was very much the message from Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking, in another strong contribution from the platform. The BNP have been completely annihilated in Barking as a result of the superhuman efforts by Margaret and the local Labour Party. Margaret, in addition, stressed that she and her team had listened to people and acted on the concerns raised, and they always resisted racism.

We were treated to a wonderful knock about by Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, who described his borough as being free of the Tory smell. GLA Member and Chair of the London Labour Party Len Duvall was more restrained making it clear that he did not want to return to 18 years in opposition. I also lived through those years and I heartily agree with Len. The other main speaker was Shadow Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell MP who gave a rousing speech about rebuilding our relationship with local communities.

Over the lunch time we were given a fascinating presentation by the Labour Party Director of Targeting and Election Organisation Patrick Henegan. The main conclusion was that we must treat London as a whole for mayoral elections as every vote counts in all parts of the capital. I would echo this as far as European elections are concerned.

I would particularly like to congratulate Charlie Mansell on his excellent work with the conference arrangements committee, never an easy job.

And finally ………. I had a stall with my annual review and EU literature. Colin Ellar, George Carr and Ruby Thompson from my office gave up their Saturday to look after this stall. My thanks to all three of them.

Dinner with London Constituency Delegates

Labour Party

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Every year at Labour Party Conference I host a dinner for London Labour Party delegates. It gives me a  chance to provide a small measure of hospitality to say thank you for all the hard work that Party activists do. I can also have more detailed conversations, report on my work, answer questions and as you will see from the pictures I gave a brief speech too.  Fellow Labour blogger John Gray from West Ham was accompanied by Rachel Tripp and Charlene McLean.

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From my own Holborn and St. Pancras constituency were Sabrina Francis and Ciaran Henderson. Councillors Lily Bath from Hounslow, Nana Asante from Harrow and John Fahy from Greenwich kept me up to date with plans for next years London Borough elections. I knew Alan Griffiths from when I worked in Newham. Impressively he is commuting down from East London each day, I also now know that when I take the Eurostar I travel in a tunnel under his house. He never hears a thing. My thanks to everybody who came and I look forward to working with many of you in your constituencies between now and the elections next year.

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Labour Party

Since elections are the very stuff of democracy it ill behoves politicians to complain about them. However, I am angry that the fascist BNP have gained two seats in the European Parliament ousting my hard working, intellectual heavyweight colleague Richard Corbett in Yorks and Humber and preventing the election of the excellent Theresa Griffin in the North West. It is indeed a sad day for this country when racists gain elected office, and something on which we should all reflect.

In particular we need a considered analysis as to why the BNP have gained this foothold, and the steps we should take in future to regain the seats lost to them for the democratic political mainstream. Since I don’t believe the British people are basically racist and that the overwhelming majority of the voters are decent and fairminded, ousting the BNP by democratic means is definitely achievable. We should define our strategy sooner rather than later to prevent the racists and fascists gaining further momentum.

As well as Richard Corbett, sad farewells to Glyn Ford and Neena Gill. Both were good colleagues and will be sadly missed. It is unfortunate that elections are lost as well as won, and although all of us who put ourselves forward for elected office know that things will go down as well as up, it doesn’t make losing any easier. My sincere wishes for the future to Richard, Glyn and Neena. I’m sure all of us Labour MEPs fortunate enough to be returned to the European Parliament are thinking of you.

Just a final word about London. The Labour result in the capital was significantly better than most other parts of the country. My thanks to everyone who voted Labour, to Ken Clark, the London Labour Party Regional Director, all the staff at the London Labour Regional Office and to those many Labour Party members who worked so hard campaigning to return Labour MEPs. It may not have been a great result, but we can be proud in London that we bucked the national trend and maintained our share of the vote at virtually the same level as at the last European elections in 2004.


Labour Party
My fellow Labour candidates for the European elections Anne Fairweather and Emma Jones

My fellow Labour candidates for the European elections Anne Fairweather and Emma Jones

Easter Saturday saw me campaigning for the European elections in Lewisham.  The local Labour Party organised a street stall and, together with my fellow Euro candidates Emma Jones and Anne Fairweather and several local activists,  I handed out a newspaper style leaflet on Labour in Europe in the street market, a busy place even on a holiday weekend.  My thanks to Ken Clark and the London Labour Party for producing the literature, the second such leaflet we have had for the European elections on 4th June.  Thank you also to all the Labour Party members who organised the day.

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