Sadiq Khan – 2010 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Sadiq Khan to the 2010 Labour Party conference.

Good Morning Conference,

This week, we have elected a new leader and we have asked him to lead us on a journey of change, so we can reconnect with the British people, win back the voters we lost and return to power.

To do that, and set out the right vision for the future, we have to learn the lessons of the past.

We must take pride in our achievements.

And we must be humble about our mistakes.

And we must learn from them.

So let me first tell you what I am proud of:

And it’s not being the first ministerial appointment to be announced on twitter.

As we all are, I am proud of our great achievements – the minimum wage, tax credits, the hundreds of thousands of pensioners taken out of poverty.

The progress on equality that allowed me to become the first MP of Muslim faith to attend cabinet.

Amidst all these successes, it would be easy for some to overlook the progress we made for transport.

But not for me.

Because my dad was a bus-driver.

And there was no escape at the in-laws either.

My wife’s dad worked f or London Underground.

Most people feel nagged by their parents from time to time, but very rarely is it about the future of bus regulation.

But talking shop with my family made sure that I never forgot the shambles of a transport system we inherited from the Tories in 1997.

So I am proud of the progress we made.

Embracing market solutions where they are right, but never forgetting the important role government can play.

Time and again challenging the conventional wisdom to stand up for those that rely on our transport network – passengers, motorists, businesses and business people.

Rejecting the ideology that drove the Tory rail privatisation by replacing Railtrack with a body that prioritises safety, not shareholders.

Recognising that access to public transport is more, not less important, in impoverished neighbourhoods and so giving local authorities more control over bus routes.

Opening Britain’s first high speed rail line.

Cutting deaths on the roads.

Nationwide free bus travel for over 60s and disabled people.

Giving millions of people more freedom and quality of life.

And in London, we saw what Labour leadership can mean – upgrades to the tube, electronic ticketing, bus services transformed, the congestion charge, and a deal for Crossrail, a scheme which will contribute billions to Britain’s economy.

All reasons I’ll be proud to campaign once again for Ken Livingstone to become Mayor of London.

We showed the importance of strong regulation, but also that the public sector and the private sector can work together to deliver investment to improve our roads and buses and railways.

It is an approach that was right in the past and will be right in the future.

But this week cannot just be about learning from where we got things right.

We also need to learn from where we got things wrong.

Because to tackle the great challenges to the transport system of the future – rising passenger numbers, growing congestion, the spectre of climate change.

We need to have a clear view about what we need to do differently.

So there are places where we need to change.

We made great strides on ensuring bus services for all communities.

But we could have done more to give local councillors more control and we need to recognise that and move on.

We made great strides on getting children and adults to cycle more.

But we did wait too long to promote cycling as a mainstream form of transport.

As Andrew Adonis reminded us last year… for us “on your bike” is a transport option not an insult to the unemployed.

And we made great strides on tackling carbon emissions.

We have set out some of the most detailed plans in the world, not just on how to cut emissions but also how to support greener motoring, create jobs and ensure that it is in the UK that we manufacture the clean cars of the future.

But we didn’t always get the answers right and we need to recognise that and move on.

Part of moving on means working with this government when they make good decisions, where we agree with them we should support them.

But where they put our transport system at risk we should say so as well.

So we hear that they doubt:

The value of investment in new trains.

The value of supporting bus companies to provide services in deprived areas.

The value of our plans for high speed rail.

Of course, we will support responsible cuts when times are hard, but right wing ideological cuts are wrong, unacceptable and we will expose them.

Under David Cameron, much of what we gained is at risk.

Passengers will not pay more for less.

And that will mean one thing.

People who currently use public transport returning to the roads.

Bad for motorists, bad for businesses, bad for the economy.

Conference, of course there would have been cuts under a Labour Government.

Some schemes would have had to be postponed or even scrapped.

I can’t stand here and tell you that every local transport project would have been funded.

But I can tell you this:

We would not fall into the trap of short-termism, making cuts now which would still be holding our country back in twenty years time.

We would not reduce transport policy to economy, but always remember that it is essential to fairness that people in all parts of our society can afford to get to where they need to be.

We would stand up for ambition and for optimism.

And, because you don’t get real change by tinkering around the edges.

That means being prepared to make radical change as a party.

To help build a fairer and more prosperous society.

Tony Blair told us that we are at our best when at our boldest.

Two days ago, our new leader Ed Miliband told us we are at our best when we are restless reformers.

And of course, they are both right.

We must not let being in opposition stifle our ambition, nor austerity smother our hopes.

We’ll win the next General Election if we show people a vision of a better fairer Britain that they can believe in.

Not just a vision for the next 5 years – but for the Britain that we want to leave behind for the generations to come.

Conference, I believe that we have that vision in us and we’ve shown the world this week that we’re coming back, bolder than ever.