John Ashworth – 2017 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by John Ashworth, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, to the Labour Party Conference held in Brighton on 26 September 2017.

It is a tremendous privilege to speak from this platform, humbled in the knowledge that it was this Conference over 80 years ago that demanded public universal healthcare.

And this Party, almost 70 years ago, established a National Health Service, free at the point of use covering every man, woman and child in the land.

So today we renew our commitment to that cause and dedicate ourselves to electing a Jeremy Corbyn Labour Government whose mission will be the rebuilding of a comprehensive, reintegrated, public NHS, free at the point of use, there for all who need it.

And we must also speak out with a sense of urgency about what is happening to our NHS. In the past year: waiting lists topped 4 million and 2.5 million people waited over four hours in A&E; over the winter, patients crammed on trolleys in corridors; ambulances backed up outside overflowing hospitals.

And the nation left shocked by a little boy, with suspected meningitis, waiting 5 hours in A&E without a bed, forced to lie on two plastic chairs. Some called it a humanitarian crisis. When you underfund the NHS and slash billions from social care let’s call it what it is, a Tory manufactured crisis.

A crisis where waiting lists are so lengthy, more and more patients feel they have no option but to pay for a surgeon to come to their bedside, while the rest wait longer and longer.

Friends, a person’s health should never depend on their individual wealth.

So a Labour Government would allocate an extra £45 billion for our NHS and social care sector. And to avoid another winter like the one we’ve just had, we would establish a half billion pound emergency winter fund, so that patients and their families never suffer like that again.

And we will invest in general practice too, and start recruiting so everyone can access a GP when they need one.

This is the leadership Jeremy Hunt should be showing. Instead he ordered hospital bosses to a summit last week where they were instructed to chant ‘we can do this’. The NHS doesn’t need silly Jeremy Hunt gimmicks; it needs a Jeremy Corbyn Labour Government.

I will be a Health Secretary, who will work closely with NHS staff.

So let us send a message to the staff of the NHS, who work day in day out, at weekends too, whose hands deliver us into the world, who comfort us in our final moments, you have our gratitude, our backing and you have our commitment that a Labour Government will tackle vacancies, will bring back bursaries and scrap the pay cap to deliver fair pay for you all.

To those who come to our shores from the EU and beyond, we say you are welcome, your rights will be secured, you are not bargaining chips, but part of our society and of the fabric of our NHS.

Our NHS is undermined by millions of pounds wasted on endless tendering of services to private providers. It is patient care that suffers.

Let me give a quick example, an ambulance contract here in Sussex handed to a private company who didn’t own any ambulances so they sub-contracted to 20 other companies. Two ceased trading, and ambulances drivers couldn’t be paid. Thankfully the contract was taken back off private hands.

I had the privilege of meeting those ambulance drivers recently. They continued taking patients to appointments for 8 weeks without pay. Doesn’t that show public service is about a greater calling, is about compassion, care and public duty, not contracts, markets and commercialisation.

So a Labour Government will legislate to reinstate the Secretary of State’s duty to provide universal care, we’ll reintegrate the NHS, reverse the Health and Social Care Act, fight fire sales of hospital assets and end Tory privatisation.

Cutting beds, closing services and rationing treatments because of underfunding is not sustainable transformation. So we would stop the STPs and integrate health and social care.

I also want a new approach to public health that protects people’s wellbeing for years to come.

To prevent disease, to reduce the toll from cancer, stroke and diabetes it’s time to start tackling the causes of ill health too. We need to end the dismantling of our public health services, we need to tackle social isolation, build decent homes and improve the quality of the air we breathe.

We have seen an increase in hospital admissions for malnutrition, and a stalling in the improvement in life expectancy for the first time in 100 years. We know a child born into poverty is likely to suffer far worse health outcomes in life.

It was once said “there can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children”. This Party has long been committed to abolishing child poverty, so I can tell you today that the next Labour Government will commit to an all-out assault on child ill health too.

No longer will we let squalor impair the health of our children.

We’ll recruit more health visitors for our communities. We’ll invest in dentistry and, to tackle child obesity, we’ll give every infant a free school meal and ban junk food advertising on family night-time television.

And we’ll end the disgraceful cuts to child and adolescent mental health budgets, end the scandal of children being treated on adult wards, and finally deliver true parity of esteem.

I want to mention one other area. This year £43 million will be slashed from alcohol and drug addiction treatment services. Recently, I chose to speak out very personally about my own circumstances, growing up with a dad who had a drink problem. He was an alcoholic.

His drinking hung over my childhood with the fridge empty other than bottles of drink. His drinking became so bad in his final years he couldn’t bring himself to come to my wedding because he felt too embarrassed.

I tell this story not for your indulgence or sympathy. But because 2 million children grow up with an alcoholic parent, 335,000 children grow up with a parent with drug abuse issues.

So as part of our assault on child ill health, I will put in place the first ever national strategy to support children of alcoholics and drug users and we’ll invest in addiction treatment and prevention as well.

So conference, a fully funded public National Health Service; fair pay for our staff; an end to Tory privatisation; an assault on health inequalities. The very best quality of care for all, free at the point of use, there when you need it.

This is what we strive for. We settle for nothing less. It’s the demand of a civilised society.

So today we pledge ourselves to united effort: and resolve that the next Labour Government will rebuild our NHS.

Jeremy Corbyn – 2017 Speech at Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, at the Labour Party Conference held in Brighton on 27 September 2017.

Conference, thank you for that. We meet here this week as a united Party, advancing in every part of Britain, winning the confidence of millions of our fellow citizens, setting out our ideas and plans for our country’s future, that have already inspired people of all ages and backgrounds.

And it’s a privilege to be speaking in Brighton. A city that not only has a long history of hosting Labour conferences, but also of inspirational Labour activists.

It was over a century ago, here in Brighton, that a teenage shop worker had had enough of the terrible conditions facing her and her workmates. She risked the sack to join the Shop Workers’ Union, after learning about it in a newspaper used to wrap up fish and chips, and was so effective at standing up for women shop workers, she became assistant general secretary before the age of 30.

In that role she seconded the historic resolution at the Trades Union Congress of 1899 to set up the Labour Representation Committee so that working people would finally have representation in Parliament.

That became the Labour Party and it was this woman, Margaret Bondfield who later become a Labour MP. And in 1929, the first ever woman to join the British cabinet’

From a Brighton drapery to Downing Street. Margaret Bondfield’s story is a reminder of the decisive role women have played in the Labour Party from its foundation, and that Labour has always been about making change by working together and standing up for others.

Conference, against all predictions in June we won the largest increase in the Labour vote since 1945 and achieved Labour’s best vote for a generation. It’s a result which has put the Tories on notice and Labour on the threshold of power.

Yes, we didn’t do quite well enough and we remain in opposition for now, but we have become a Government-in-waiting. Our outstanding shadow cabinet team here today. And our message to the country could not be clearer – Labour is ready.

Ready to tackle inequality , ready to rebuild our NHS, ready to give opportunity to young people, dignity and security to older people, ready to invest in our economy and meet the challenges of climate change and automation, ready to put peace and justice at the heart of foreign policy. And ready to build a new and progressive relationship with Europe.

We are ready and the Tories are clearly not. They’re certainly not strong and they’re definitely not stable. They’re not remotely united. And they’re hanging on by their fingertips.

But this Tory Government does have one thing that we lack. They have tracked down the Magic Money Tree when it was needed to keep Theresa May in Downing Street. It was given a good old shake – and lo and behold – now we know the price of power – it’s about £100m for each Democratic Unionist MP.

During the election campaign, Theresa May told voters they faced the threat of a “coalition of chaos . Remember that? Well, now they’re showing us exactly how that works. And I don’t just mean the Prime Minister’s desperate deal with the DUP. She’s got a “coalition of chaos” around her own cabinet table – Phillip Hammond and Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and David Davis.

At each other’s throats, squabbling and plotting, manoeuvring to bundle the Prime Minister out of Number Ten and take her place at the first opportunity Instead of getting to grips with the momentous issues facing our country.

But this coalition of chaos is no joke. Just look at their record since the Conservatives have been in office;

The longest fall in people’s pay since record began

Homelessness doubled

NHS waiting lists lengthening

School class sizes growing and teachers leaving

Over 4 million children now in poverty

20,000 police officers … and 11,000 firefighters cut

More people in work and in poverty … than ever before

Condemned by the United Nations for violating the rights of disabled people.

That’s not strong and stable. It’s callous and calculating. Because the Tories calculated that making life worse for millions in the name of austerity would pay for hefty tax handouts to the rich and powerful.

Conference, your efforts in the election campaign stopped the Tories in their tracks. The election result has already delivered one Tory U-turn after another over some of their most damaging policies. The cruel dementia tax was scrapped within three days of being announced. Plans to bring back grammar schools have been ditched . The threat to the pensions’ triple lock abandoned. Withdrawal of Winter Fuel payments dumped. The pledge to bring back fox hunting dropped. And their plan to end free school meals in primary schools has been binned.

The reality is that barely three months since the election this coalition of Conservative chaos is tearing up its Manifesto and tearing itself apart. They are bereft of ideas and energy. Indeed, they seem to be cherry-picking Labour policies instead, including on Brexit.

I say to the Prime Minister: “You’re welcome . But go the whole hog end austerity, abolish tuition fees, scrap the public sector pay cap. I think we can find a Commons majority for all of that. This is a weak and divided Government with no purpose beyond clinging to power.

It is Labour that is now setting the agenda and winning the arguments for a new common sense about the direction our country should take.

Conference, there were two stars of our election campaign. The first was our Manifesto that drew on the ideas of our members and trade unionists and the hopes and aspirations of their communities and workplaces. And we were clear about how we would pay for it by asking the richest and the largest corporations to start paying their fair share.

Not simply to redistribute within a system that isn’t delivering for most people but to transform that system. So we set out not only how we would protect public services but how we would rebuild and invest in our economy, with a publicly-owned engine of sustainable growth, driven by national and regional investment banks, to generate good jobs and prosperity in every region and nation.

Our Manifesto is the programme of a modern, progressive socialist party that has rediscovered its roots and its purpose, bucking the trend across Europe.

And Conference, the other star of that campaign was YOU. Our members, our supporters in the trade unions, our doorstep and social media campaigners. Young people sharing messages and stories on social media, hundreds of thousands organising online and on the ground to outplay the Tories’ big money machine.

Is it any wonder that here today in Brighton you represent the largest political party in western Europe, with nearly 600,000 members, alongside three million affiliated trade unionists, brimming with enthusiasm and confidence in the potential of our people. You are the future. And let me say straight away. I’m awed and humbled by everything you have done, along with hundreds of thousands of others across the country, to take us to where we are today.

I have never been more proud to be your elected leader. Our election campaign gave people strength. It brought millions on to the electoral register and inspired millions to go to vote for the first time.

And Labour was the Party of unity, bringing generations and communities together, rather than pitting young and old against each other, as the Tories did. We will never seek to squeeze one generation to support another. Under Labour, people will win together.

The result of our campaign confounded every expert and sceptic. I see John McDonnell said the ‘grey beards’ had got it all wrong. I’m not sure that’s entirely fair, John? We wiped out the Tory majority, winning support in every social and age group and gaining seats in every region and nation of the country.

So please, Theresa May take another walking holiday and make another impetuous decision. The Labour campaign machine is primed and ready to roll.

Of course, there were some who didn’t come out of the election too well. I’m thinking of some of our more traditional media friends. They ran the campaign they always do under orders from their tax exile owners to trash Labour at every turn. The day before the election one paper devoted fourteen pages to attacking the Labour Party. And our vote went up nearly 10%.

Never have so many trees died in vain. The British people saw right through it. So this is a message to the Daily Mail’s editor- next time, please could you make it 28 pages?

But there’s a serious message too, the campaign by the Tories and their loyal media was nasty and personal. It fuelled abuse online and no one was the target of that more than Diane Abbott. She has a decades-long record of campaigning for social justice and has suffered intolerable misogynistic and racist abuse. Faced with such an overwhelmingly hostile press and an army of social media trolls,it’s even more important that we stand.

Yes we will disagree, but there can never be any excuse for any abuse of anybody. We settle our differences with democratic votes and unite around those decision.

That is the Labour Party, here this week, and out in the communities EVERY week -diverse, welcoming, democratic and ready to serve our country.

There is no bigger test in politics right now than Brexit, an incredibly important and complex process, that cannot be reduced to repeating fairy stories from the side of a bus or waiting 15 months to state the obvious. As democratic socialists, we accept and respect the referendum result, but respect for a democratic decision does not mean giving a green light to a recklesss Tory Brexit agenda that would plunge Britain into a Trump-style race-to-the-bottom in rights and corporate taxes.

We are not going to be passive spectators to a hopelessly inept negotiating team putting at risk people’s jobs, rights and living standards. A team more interested in posturing for personal advantage than in getting the best deal for our country. To be fair, Theresa May’s speech in Florence last week did unite the cabinet. for a few hours at least. Her plane had barely touched down at Heathrow before the divisions broke out again.

Never has the national interest been so ill-served on such a vital issue, If there were no other reason for the Tories to go their self-interested Brexit bungling would be reason enough. So I have a simple message to the cabinet for Britain’s sake pull yourself together or make way.

One thing needs to be made clear straight away. The three million EU citizens currently living and working in Britain are welcome here. They have been left under a cloud of insecurity by this government when their future could have been settled months ago. So Theresa May, give them the full guarantees they deserve today. If you don’t, we will.

Since the referendum result our Brexit team has focused above all on our economic future. That future is now under real threat. A powerful faction in the Conservative leadership sees Brexit as their chance to create a tax haven on the shores of Europe a low-wage, low tax deregulated playground for the hedge funds and speculators. A few at the top would do very nicely, no question. But manufacturing industries would go to the wall taking skilled jobs with them our tax base would crumble our public services would be slashed still further.

We are now less than 18 months away from leaving the European Union. And so far, the Tory trio leading the talks have got nowhere and agreed next to nothing. This rag-tag Cabinet spends more time negotiating with each other than they do with the EU. A cliff-edge Brexit is at risk of becoming a reality. That is why Labour has made clear that Britain should stay within the basic terms of the single market and a customs union for a limited transition period. It is welcome at least that Theresa May has belatedly accepted that.

But beyond that transition, our task is a different one. It is to unite everyone in our country around a progressive vision of what Britain could be, but with a government that stands for the many not the few.

Labour is the only party that can bring together those who voted leave and those who backed remain and unite the country for a future beyond Brexi. What matters in the Brexit negotiations is to achieve a settlement that delivers jobs, rights and decent living standards.

Conference, the real divide over Brexit could not be . A shambolic Tory Brexit driving down standards .Or a Labour Brexit that puts jobs first a Brexit for the many, one that guarantees unimpeded access to the single market and establishes a new co-operative relationship with the EU.

A Brexit that uses powers returned from Brussels to support a new industrial strategy to upgrade our economy in every region and nation. One that puts our economy first not fake immigration targets that fan the flames of fear. We will never follow the Tories into the gutter of blaming migrants for the ills of society. It isn’t migrants who drive down wages and conditions but the worst bosses in collusion with a Conservative government that never misses a chance to attack trade unions and weaken people’s rights at work.

Labour will take action to stop employers driving down pay and conditions not pander to scapegoating or racism. How Britain leaves the European Union is too important to be left to the Conservatives and their internal battles and identity crises.

Labour will hold Theresa May’s squabbling ministers to account every step of the way in these talks. And, with our Brexit team of Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry and Barry Gardiner we stand ready to take over whenever this government fails. to negotiate a new relationship with Europe that works for us all reaching outto help create a Europe for the many for the future.

The truth is …. That under the Tories Britain’s future is at risk whatever the outcome of the Brexit process. Our economy no longer delivers secure housing secure well-paid jobs or rising living standards. There is a new common sense emerging about how the country should be run. That’s what we fought for in the election and that’s what’s needed to replace the broken model forged by Margaret Thatcher many years ago.

And Ten years after the global financial crash the Tories still believe in the same dogmatic mantra – Deregulate, privatise ,cut taxes for the wealthy, weaken rights at work, delivering profits for a few, and debt for the many. Nothing has changed. It’s as if we’re stuck in a political and economic time-warp.

As the Financial Times put it last month our “financial system still looks a lot like the pre-crisis one” and the capitalist system still faces a “crisis of legitimacy”, stemming from the crash.

Now is the time that government took a more active role in restructuring our economy. Now is the time that corporate boardrooms were held accountable for their actions, And now is the time that we developed a new model of economic management to replace the failed dogmas of neo-liberalism … That is why Labour is looking not just to repair the damage done by austerity but to transform our economy with a new and dynamic role for the public sector particularly where the private sector has evidently failed.

Take the water industry. Of the nine water companies in England six are now owned by private equity or foreign sovereign wealth funds. Their profits are handed out in dividends to shareholders while the infrastructure crumbles the companies pay little or nothing in tax and executive pay has soared as the service deteriorates.

That is why we are committed to take back our utilities into public ownership to put them at the service of our people and our economy and stop the public being ripped off.

Of course there is much more that needs to be done. Our National Investment Bank… and the Transformation Fund will be harnessed to mobilise public investment to create wealth and good jobs. When I’ve met business groups I’ve been frank we will invest in the education and skills of the workforce and we will invest in better infrastructure from energy to digital but we are going to ask big business to pay a bit more tax.

The Tory approach to the economy isn’t entrepreneurial It’s extractive. They’re not focused on long-term investment and wealth creation. When you look at what they do rather than what they say it’s all about driving down wages, services and standards … to make as much money as quickly as possible with government not as the servant of the people but of global corporations. And their disregard for rampant inequality the hollowing out of our public services, the disdain for the powerless and the poorhave made our society more brutal and less caring.

Now that degraded regime has a tragic monument the chilling wreckage of Grenfell Tower. A horrifying fire in which dozens perished an entirely avoidable human disaster. One which is an indictment not just of decades of failed housing policies and privatisation and the yawning inequality in one of the wealthiest boroughs and cities in the world, it is also a damning indictment of a whole outlook which values council tax refunds for the wealthy above decent provision for all and which has contempt for working class communities.

Before the fire, a tenants’ group of Grenfell residents had warned … and I quote words that should haunt all politicians “the Grenfell Action Group firmly believesthat only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord”. Grenfell is not just the result of bad political decisions It stands for a failed and broken system which Labour must and will replace.

The poet Ben Okri recently wrote in his poem “Grenfell Tower”:

Those who were living now are dead

Those who were breathing are from the living earth fled

If you want to see how the poor die, come see Grenfell Tower.

See the tower, and let a world changing dream flower.

We have a duty as a country to learn the lessons from this calamity and ensure that a changed world flowers . I hope that the public inquiry will assist. But a decent home is a right for everyone whatever their income or background. And houses should be homes for the many not speculative investments for a few. Look at the Conservative housing record and you understand why Grenfell residents are sceptical about their Conservative council and this Conservative government.

Since 2010: homelessness has doubled, 120,000 children don’t have a home to call their own, home ownership has fallen, thousands are living in homes unfit for human habitation. This is why alongside our Shadow Housing minister John Healey we’re launching a review of social housing policy – its building, planning, regulation and management.

We will listen to tenants across the country and propose a radical programme of action to next year’s conference. But some things are already clear tenants are not being listened to.

We will insist that every home is fit for human habitation, a proposal this Tory government voted down. And we will control rents – when the younger generation’s housing costs are three times more than those of their grandparents, that is not sustainable.

Rent controls exist in many cities across the world and I want our cities to have those powers too and tenants to have those protections. We also need to tax undeveloped land held by developers and have the power to compulsorily purchase. As Ed Miliband said, “Use it or lose it”. Families need homes.

After Grenfell we must think again about what are called regeneration schemes.

Regeneration is a much abused word.

Too often what it really means is forced gentrification and social cleansing, as private developers move in and tenants and leaseholders are moved out.

We are very clear: we will stop the cuts to social security.

But we need to go further, as conference decided yesterday.

So when councils come forward with proposals for regeneration, we will put down two markers based on one simple principle:

Regeneration under a Labour government will be for the benefit of the local people, not private developers, not property speculators.

First, people who live on an estate that’s redeveloped must get a home on the same site and the same terms as before.

No social cleansing, no jacking up rents, no exorbitant ground rents.

And second councils will have to win a ballot of existing tenants and leaseholders before any redevelopment scheme can take place.

Real regeneration, yes, but for the many not the few.

That’s not all that has to change.

All parties unite in paying tribute to our public sector workers:

The firefighters who ran into Grenfell Tower to save lives; the health service workers caring for the maimed in the Manchester terrorist outrage; the brave police officers who confronted the attackers at London Bridge; and PC Keith Palmer who gave his life when terrorists attack our democracy.

Our public servants make the difference every day, between a decent and a threadbare society.

Everyone praises them. But it is Labour that values them and is prepared to give them the pay rise they deserve and protect the services they provide.

Year after year the Tories have cut budgets and squeezed public sector pay, while cutting taxes for the highest earners and the big corporations.

You can’t care for the nation’s health when doctors and nurses are being asked to accept falling living standards year after year.

You can’t educate our children properly in ever larger class sizes with more teachers than ever leaving the profession.

You can’t protect the public on the cheap.

The police and security services must get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts.

Scrapping the public sector pay squeeze isn’t an act of charity – it is a necessity to keep our public services fully staffed and strong.

Not everything worthwhile costs money though.

Like many people, I have been moved by the Daily Mirror’s campaign to change the organ donation law.

There are more than 5,000 people on organ transplant waiting lists, but a shortage of donors means that in recent years only 3,500 of them get the life-saving treatments they need.

So that everybody whose life could be saved by an organ transplant can have the gift of life – from one human being to another.

The law has already been changed in Wales under Carwyn Jones’s leadership, and today I make the commitment a Labour government will do the same for England.

In the last couple of days John McDonnell and Rebecca Long-Bailey have set out how we are going to develop the economic plans in our manifesto to ensure that sustainable growth and good jobs reach ALL parts of the country.

So that no community or region is held back.

To establish regional development banks,. to invest in an industrial strategy for every region.

But the challenges of the future go beyond the need to turn our backs on an economic model that has failed to invest and upgrade our economy.

We need urgently to face the challenge of automation – robotics that could make so much of contemporary work redundant.

That is a threat in the hands of the greedy, but it’s a huge opportunity if it’s managed in the interests of society as a whole.

We won’t reap the full rewards of these great technological advances if they’re monopolised to pile up profits for a few.

But if they’re publicly managed – to share the benefits – they can be the gateway for a new settlement between work and leisure. A springboard for expanded creativity and culture.

The tide of automation and technological change means re-training and management of the workforce must be centre-stage in the coming years.

So Labour will build an education and training system from the cradle to the grave that empowers people.

Not one that shackles them with debt.

That’s why we will establish a National Education Service which will include at its core free tuition for all college courses, technical and vocational training so that no one is held back by costs and everyone has the chance to learn.

That will give millions a fair chance.

Lifelong learning for all is essential in the economy of the future.

The huge shift of employment that will take place under the impact of automation must be planned and managed.

It demands the reskilling of millions of people. Only Labour will deliver that.

As Angela Rayner said yesterday, our National Education Service will be run on clear principles: universal, free and empowering.

This is central to our socialism for the 21st century, for the many not the few.

During the election I visited Derwentside College in the constituency of our new MP Laura Pidcock – one of dozens of great new MPs breathing life and energy into Parliament.

They offer adult courses in everything from IT to beauty therapy, from engineering to childcare.

I met apprentice construction workers. They stand to benefit from Labour’s £250 billion National Transformation Fund, building the homes people need and the new transport, energy and digital infrastructure our country needs.

But changing our economy to make it work for the whole country can’t take place in isolation from changing how our country is run.

For people to take control of their own lives, our democracy needs to break out of Westminster into all parts of our society and economy where power is unaccountable.

All around the world democracy is facing twin threats:

One is the emergence of an authoritarian nationalism that is intolerant and belligerent.

The second is apparently more benign, but equally insidious.

It is that the big decisions should be left to the elite.

That political choices can only be marginal and that people are consumers first, and only citizens a distant second.

Democracy has to mean much more than that.

It must mean listening to people outside of election time. Not just the rich and powerful who are used to calling the shots, but to those at the sharp end who really know what’s going on.

Like the Greater Manchester police officer who warned Theresa May two years ago that cuts to neighbourhood policing were risking people’s lives and security.

His concerns were dismissed as “crying wolf”.

Like the care workers sacked when they blow the whistle on abuse of the elderly..

Or the teachers intimidated when they speak out about the lack of funding for our children’s schools.

Or the doctors who are ignored when they warn that the NHS crumbling before our eyes, or blow the whistle on patient safety.

Labour is fighting for a society not only where rewards are more fairly spread, but where people are listened to more as well by government, their local council, their employer.

Some of the most shocking cases of people not being listened to must surely be the recent revelations of widespread child sex abuse.

Young people – and most often young working class women – have been subjected to the most repugnant abuse.

The response lies in making sure that everybody’s voice must be heard no matter who they are or what their background.

The kind of democracy that we should be aiming for is one where people have a continuing say in how society is run, how their workplace is run, how their local schools or hospitals are run.

That means increasing the public accountability and democratization of local services that Andrew Gwynne was talking about on Monday.

It means democratically accountable public ownership for the natural monopolies, with new participatory forms of management, as Rebecca Long-Bailey has been setting out.

It means employees given their voice at work, with unions able to represent them properly, freed of undemocratic fetters on their right to organize.

I promised you two years ago that we would do politics differently.

It’s not always been easy.

There’s quite a few who prefer politics the old way.

But let me say it again. We will do politics differently.

And the vital word there is “we”.

Not just leaders saying things are different, but everyone having the chance to shape our democracy.

Our rights as citizens are as important as our rights as consumers.

Power devolved to the community, not monopolised in Westminster and Whitehall.

Now let’s take it a stage further – make public services accountable to communities.

Business accountable to the public, and politicians truly accountable to those we serve.

Let the next Labour government will transform Britain by genuinely putting power in the hands of the people, the creative, compassionate and committed people of our country.

Both at home and abroad, what underpins our politics is our compassion and our solidarity with people.

Including those now recovering from hurricane damage in the Caribbean, floods in South Asia and Texas. and earthquakes in Mexico.

Our interdependence as a planet could not be more obvious.

The environmental crisis in particular demands a common global response.

That is why President Trump’s threats to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Treaty are so alarming.

There is no contradiction between meeting our climate change commitments and investing to build a strong economy based on high skill industries.

In fact the opposite is the case.

Action on climate change is a powerful spur to investment in the green industries and jobs of the future. So long as it is managed as part of a sustainable transition.

We know, tragically, that terrorism also recognises no boundaries.

We have had five shocking examples in Britain this year alone.

Two during the course of the General Election campaign and one in my own constituency.

Both Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan – the mayors of Manchester and London – played a crucial role in bringing people together in the aftermath of those brutal attacks.

The targeting of our democracy, of teenage girls at a pop concert, of people enjoying a night out, worshippers outside a mosque, commuters going to work – all of these are horrific crimes.

And we all unite in both condemning the perpetrators and in our support for the emergency and security services, working to keep us safe.

But we also know that terrorism is thriving in a world our governments have helped to shape, with its failed states, military interventions and occupations where millions are forced to flee conflict or hunger.

We have to do better and swap the knee-jerk response of another bombing campaign for long-term help to solve conflicts rather than fuel them.

And we must put our values at the heart of our foreign policy.

Democracy and human rights are not an optional extra to be deployed selectively.

So we cannot be silent at the cruel Saudi war in Yemen, while continuing to supply arms to Saudi Arabia, or the crushing of democracy in Egypt or Bahrain, or the tragic loss of life in Congo.

And I say this today to Aung San Suu Kyi – a champion of democracy and human rights – : end the violence now against the Rohingya in Myanmar and allow the UN and international aid agencies in to Rakhine state.

The Rohingya have suffered for too long!

We should stand firm for peaceful solutions to international crises.

Let’s tone down the rhetoric, and back dialogue and negotiations to wind down the deeply dangerous confrontation over the Korean Peninsula.

And I appeal to the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres to use the authority of his office and go to Washington and Pyongyang to kick start that essential process of dialogue.

And let’s give real support to end the oppression of the Palestinian people, the 50-year occupation and illegal settlement expansion and move to a genuine two-state solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Britain’s voice needs to be heard independently in the world.

We must be a candid friend to the United States, now more than ever.

The values we share are not served by building walls, banning immigrants on the basis of religion, polluting the planet, or pandering to racism.

And let me say frankly – the speech made by the US President to the United Nations last week was deeply disturbing.

It threatened war and talked of tearing up international agreements.

Devoid of concern for human rights or universal values, it was not the speech of a world leader.

Our government has a responsibility. It cannot meekly go along with this dangerous course.

If the special relationship means anything, it must mean that we can say to Washington: that way is the wrong way.

That’s clearly what’s needed in the case of Bombardier where thousands of jobs are now at stake.

A Prime Minister betting our economic future on a deregulated trade deal with the US might want to explain how 220% tariffs are going to boost our exports.

So let Britain’s voice be heard loud and clear for peace, justice and cooperation.

Conference, it is often said that elections can only be won from the centre ground.

And in a way that’s not wrong – so long as it’s clear that the political centre of gravity isn’t fixed or unmovable, nor is it where the establishment pundits like to think it is.

It shifts as people’s expectations and experiences change and political space is opened up.

Today’s centre ground is certainly not where it was twenty or thirty years ago.

A new consensus is emerging from the great economic crash and the years of austerity, when people started to find political voice for their hopes for something different and better.

2017 may be the year when politics finally caught up with the crash of 2008 – because we offered people a clear choice.

We need to build a still broader consensus around the priorities we set in the election, making the case for both compassion and collective aspiration.

This is the real centre of gravity of British politics.

We are now the political mainstream.

Our manifesto and our policies are popular because that is what most people in our country actually want, not what they’re told they should want.

And that is why Labour is on the way back in Scotland becoming once again the champion of social justice.

Thank you Kezia. And whoever next leads Scottish Labour – our unifying socialist message will continue to inspire both south and north of the border.

That is why our party now has around twice the membership of all the other parties put together.

Conference, we have left the status quo behind, but we must make the change we seek credible and effective.

We have left our own divisions behind. But we must make our unity practical. We know we are campaign-ready.

We must be government-ready too. Our aspirations matched by our competence.

During the election campaign I met and listened to people in every part of the country.

Struggling single parents, young people held back by lack of opportunity.

Pensioners anxious about health and social care, public servants trying to keep services together.

Low and middle earners, self-employed and employed, facing insecurity and squeezed living standards.

But hopeful that things could change, and that Labour could make a difference.

Many hadn’t voted before, or not for years past.

But they put their faith in our party.

We offered an antidote to apathy and despair.

Let everyone understand – We will not let you down.

Because we listen to you, because we believe in you.

Labour can and will deliver a Britain for the many not just the few.

Thank you.

Barbara Keeley – 2017 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Barbara Keeley, Shadow Cabinet Member for Mental Health and Social Care, at the Labour Party conference held in Brighton on 26 September 2017.


It is an honour to close this debate as Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Mental Health and Social Care

I am proud to have this role in a Labour party that understands how vital Mental Health and Social Care services are. And that makes protecting these services a major priority.

And it’s even more important when we see the crisis the Tory Government has created in both social care and mental health. A crisis made in Downing Street

They are failing people across the country, failing those who need care and their families, failing unpaid family carers and failing hundreds of thousands of care workers.

People are now going without the care they need. Nearly half a million fewer people getting publicly-funded care since the Tories came to office. Over a million older people with unmet care needs, many of them isolated and lonely

But this Tory Government isn’t just failing social care users, it’s failing their families too. With hundreds of thousands of unpaid family carers struggling to balance work and care. It’s failing hundreds of thousands of care staff, because under the Tories too often they are under-paid, under-trained and under-valued.

Caring staff who are forced to work on zero-hours contracts, denied pay for travel time, underpaid for sleep-in shifts, with care visits of just 15-minutes. Prevented from giving the quality of care which people deserve

And the Tory Government is failing children and young people in need of mental health services, denied treatment due to Tory cuts. Young people told they are not thin enough to be treated for an eating disorder. Children who have self-harmed being turned away unless they have made a serious suicide attempt.

And thousands of people in mental health crisis being sent hundreds of miles from their families just to get the treatment they need. Mental health services for young people that are now so poor, a High Court Judge had to tell Jeremy Hunt that this country: would have “blood on its hands” if suitable care could not be found for a suicidal teenage girl.

Conference, it’s time for us in the Labour Party to say that this is not good enough.

Not good enough that care quality has fallen, with one in four services now failing on safety grounds.

Not good enough that thousands of vulnerable people are stuck in hospital for weeks or months, because there is no care for them at home or no place in a care home.

Not good enough that last winter the British Red Cross talked of a humanitarian crisis that saw people sent home from hospital without clothes, people falling and not being found for days, people going unwashed because there are no care services to help them to wash.

This Social Care Crisis was made in Downing Street. A crisis made by a Tory Government cutting billions of pounds from council budgets. And by Tory Ministers failing to find the extra funding needed for social care

And then during the Snap General Election, Theresa May announced her solution to the crisis would be a new tax on care. Dubbed the “Dementia Tax”, hitting people who need care even harder. Making people use the value of their homes to pay for their own home care

Such a failing and toxic policy that Theresa May announced a U-turn on it within 4 days. And then the Tories quietly dumped their policy. But in its place, the Tories now have nothing to say on the future funding of social care. They just promise a consultation and a Green Paper.

And on the crisis in mental health for children and young people, they also promise only a Green Paper.

Conference, Labour will fill the Tory policy vacuum. We will show that we are the party that values social care and mental health. At the election, we pledged an extra £8 billion for social care in this Parliament, with an extra £1 billion this year to deal with the Tory crisis.

This would have delivered: paying a real living wage to care staff, paying them travel time and letting them choose regular hours; finally ending inadequate 15-minute care visits and ensuring free end of life care.

And Conference, Labour believes funding must be found to pay care staff properly for sleep-in shifts.

And Labour will support family carers. We have pledged to increase the carers allowance for unpaid carers to at least the same rates as Jobseeker’s Allowance. A small first step to recognise the value of the work of unpaid family carers.

And Conference, a Labour Government will build a National Care Service. A service in which we pool the risk of high care costs, so that no-one is faced with catastrophic costs as they are now.

In its first years, our National Care Service will receive an extra £3 billion in public funds every year. Enough to place a cap on what individuals have to pay towards care. Enough to raise the asset threshold for paying for care. Enough to provide free end of life care

To act on our pledge, we will invite an independent, expert panel to advise us on how we move from the current broken system of care to a sustainable service for the long term.

In mental health, we will increase the amount we spend on services for children and young people. We will ring-fence mental health budget,s so that money isn’t siphoned off by other parts of the NHS. We will bring an early end to patients being sent hundreds of miles for mental health treatment. And we will offer school-based counselling for young people in every one of our high schools.

Conference, under the Tories we have seen years of neglect of care needs. Neglect of older people. Of younger people. Of vulnerable disabled people.

This Tory Government has no solution to the problems it has created. Only Labour will end this crisis made in Downing Street. Only Labour will bring hope to those in need of care and those who care for them

And only Labour will build care services fit for the many. Not the few.

Tom Watson – 2017 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, at the Labour Party conference held in Brighton on 26 September 2017.

Conference, thank you for being here. Thanks for your enthusiasm, for your passion, for all your hard work on behalf of the Labour Party, on behalf of our country. I’m grateful to every one of you.

Last week, the Prime Minister made yet another speech to reboot, yet again, her Brexit strategy. She chose to deliver this latest oration in the great city of Florence, though no-one seems to know why. For politicians, Florence, even more than the city of Dante, the Medicis and Michelangelo, is the city of Niccolo Machiavelli.

I can only assume Michael Gove picked the venue. Michael Gove, who undermined his own Tory leadership bid last year, by admitting he doesn’t have the right skills to be Prime Minster. For once in his life, he was right. Trouble is, none of the rest of them do either.

So now he’s back. Machiavelli’s famous advice was that it’s better to be feared than to be loved. This mantra runs as deep in the Tory Party as blue through a stick of Brighton rock. Fear is how they win. Fear is how they govern.

It’s fear of strangers behind this Government’s callous treatment of EU citizens living here. It’s with the peddled fear of economic ruin that they justify their cruelty to our nurses and teachers, our armed forces and our police officers. It’s with fear that they hammer our poorest and most vulnerable, while turning a blind eye to their plutocrat friends.

I’m going to be honest with you, Conference: fear is a powerful force. It won the Conservative Party elections in 2010 and in 2015. But this year, something magical happened. The spell has been broken. Jeremy told this country that we don’t need to be afraid. That another way is possible. That living in fear is not inevitable: we can choose to live in love and hope instead.

And this country, our great country, began to throw off the shackles.

Mrs May, the Tory Party was never loved. But you were happy to be feared. It worked for you. Well not any more. 15 months in, you still seem as dazed as on day one. Caught between your enemies and, even worse, your friends. Caught in the headlights. Living on Boris time.

As Shadow Culture Secretary, I’ve got one of the best jobs there is. When I get invited to the theatre or to the cinema or, yes, to Glastonbury, I get to say I’m only there for work. And one of the most surreal moments of my political life happened to me late at night, in a field, surrounded by people much younger and far more stylish than me.

I realised something as the crowd at Glastonbury’s silent disco began to sing:

“Oh, Jeremy Corbyn….” And as they sang, I realised it’s actually better to be loved than to be feared. And Jeremy has shown us that it’s possible.

Thank you Jeremy.

There are some serious bits to my job, too, though. It’s not all music festivals and opening nights. Digital, culture, media and sport are key battlegrounds in our fight against fear and despair.

And alongside me in those battles I have the best Shadow DCMS team you could want: Kevin Brennan, my deputy, Rosena Allin-Khan, Liam Byrne, Steve Reed, Ruth Smeeth and Wilf Stevenson.

And we’ve recently lost Louise Haigh, the finest mind of her generation, who was rightly promoted to join Diane’s team in the shadow Home Office.

And we have a leader in Jeremy who stamped his leadership on culture policy when the two of us launched our innovative culture manifesto in Hull – deservedly the UK City of Culture.

What a great job they’ve done this year. An early priority for our DCMS team in Government will be to finally confront problem gambling. Of course, gambling isn’t risk free. Even bets you think are absolute certainties can end up costing you a lot. Just ask Theresa May.

That was a joke, by the way, but it’s a serious problem. The damage to the families of gambling addicts can be terrible. Yet some gambling firms, driven by greed, are deliberately targeting our poorest communities. We now know that when vulnerable people try to opt out of online gambling, companies don’t always block their accounts as they should.

Gambling companies are even harvesting data to deliberately target low-income gamblers and people who’ve given up.

As Mike Dixon, boss of mental health charity Addaction says, “gambling addiction tears lives and families apart. It’s outrageous that an industry with a £13bn revenue contributes less than £10m to treatment”.

Well Mike, I can tell you that a Labour Government will introduce a compulsory levy.

Can you imagine the uproar if the drinks industry started targeting Alcoholics Anonymous by selling drink outside AA meetings? We wouldn’t tolerate that – and we shouldn’t tolerate the same kind of behavior by some bookmakers. And addicts must be given the help they need. Gambling addiction is an illness and it’s about time it was taken seriously.

So I can announce today that, together with Jonathan Ashworth, our shadow Health Secretary, I’m launching a thorough review of gambling addiction in this country and current provision for treatment on the NHS. Jon Ashworth, by the way: what a sparkling star of Labour’s front bench. He’s going to be an outstanding Health Secretary in the next Labour Government.

Our review will look at how best to fund NHS treatment and help free problem gamblers from the destructive cycle of addiction. My message to gambling firms today is clear: stop targeting vulnerable people. Start acting properly. And meet your obligation to help those whose lives have been blighted by addiction.

You can do it now, because it’s the right thing to do. Or you can wait for the next Labour Government to do it for you.

Oh and by the way, the same applies to the organisations that run football in this country. If you won’t ban football clubs from signing shirt sponsorship deals with betting companies – Labour will.

Conference, as I said, I know how lucky I am. I love my job. Serving my constituents in West Bromwich, serving the Party, serving each of you as Deputy Leader. There’s no better job – perhaps that’s why so many people want to do it.

But I know not everyone’s as lucky as me. More and more are being left behind by an economy that serves the few, not the many.

And the world’s changing in ways we can’t continue to ignore: the labour market’s polarising. Today’s choice for too many young people is precarious employment or no employment, a zero hours contract or no contract, shabby, dangerous, soul-destroying work, or no work at all.

Income inequality in Britain is amongst the highest in the developed world. Inequality between those with fulfilment and security in work, and those without it is growing too.

This is a stain on our country. But the Tories just shrug their shoulders and say there’s no alternative.

Just like they did on low pay, before our party introduced the minimum wage. Just like they did on maternity rights, before we secured them. Just like they did on healthcare, before we created the NHS to treat the many, not just the few.

And the Tories are still doing it now. Transport for London has told Uber it has to follow the same rules as everyone else. Nothing more. That it can run its mini-cab service, as long as they respect our rules. Treat your customers with respect and keep them safe, like everyone else has to. And then you’ll be welcome to make money in London.

Uber, you’re becoming the perfect picture of how the future gig economy must not look. You may think you’re immune because your friends in the Tory party run Britain and its newspapers. You know the Tories don’t care about level playing fields and orderly markets. They don’t care about consumer protection. They certainly don’t care about workers’ rights. But they don’t run London – and that’s where you make your money.

And, mark my words, they won’t be running Britain for much longer. Conservatives don’t have the imagination to embrace change. They never have. Theresa May summed it up in her now infamous line from the election:

“Nothing has changed.

Nothing. Has. Changed.”

So: no lessons learned. No message received. It’s the same old Tories. No end to austerity. No change for public servants who deserve a pay rise. No change for the millions who desperately need something different. The truth is, the Tories don’t really want to change things.

But Labour does. And when Jeremy forms the next Government, Labour will. A time for change is upon us. The old fear is gone. We’re ready for bold, transformative reform, hungry for it.

That’s what Labour’s campaign showed – as hundreds of thousands knocked on doors, went to rallies, got out the vote and delivered stunning Labour victories in Tory strongholds like Canterbury. Like Kensington.

This year’s election showed that real change is possible. We can and we will form a radical Government which does things differently.

We have the imagination; we have the drive; we have the momentum. The fight is so important. Not just because we need to undo the damage of all these years of Tory rule. But because fresh challenges lie ahead.

On the horizon – in sight, in the next few years – automation and artificial intelligence threatening jobs and wages on a scale the world has never seen. Digital platforms making access to work much more direct and immediate. But the quality of that work, the safeguards, the wages, the pensions – too often these are cast aside, disguised as innovation.

Whereas Labour believes that secure, high-quality work should be available to every adult who wants it. And in order to get it, in the digital age, the successful worker will need to be a creative worker. It’s the job of Government to make that happen. And that starts with education.

In an age when every child has access to all the knowledge that has ever existed on a device that fits in the palm of their hand, just teaching them to memorise thousands of facts is missing the point. Michael Gove’s curriculum reforms were a useless return to the past – obsessed by what children can remember, instead of how they use the knowledge they have.

We don’t yet know what the jobs of the future will be, so we’ve got to teach children not just what to learn but how to learn. And how to be. Self-awareness, emotional intelligence, social skills, creativity and collaborative learning. Transferable skills they can adapt as the new world swirls around them.

Great schools are places of imagination, inspiration, love.They help our young people become great humans, constantly adjusting in a continually changing world. Such schools are as powerful as the creative imaginations they nurture. They’re fabulous places. And, let’s be clear, they do exist.

But let’s be equally clear that they exist in spite of Michael Gove, Nicky Morgan and Justine Greening, and all the other names of Tory shame. If it was left up to them, our children would be totally ill equipped for the economy of now – let alone the economy of the future.

Whereas Angela Rayner, our fantastic Shadow Education Secretary, will lead an education system that prepares our young people for a world we can’t yet see.

Angie’s talked about how a Labour Government helped her grow from teenage mom into Shadow Minister. Our education system failed her at first, but when she’s running it, she won’t let it fail the next generation. We’re all so proud of her. So proud of what she’s going to do.

The next Labour Government will educate and train a nation of workers that are the most creative and adaptive on the planet. We’ll give working people the tools to use technology to enhance their lives, rather than restricting them to a digital elite.

The digital economy succeeds only when it gives each of us the means to realise our true potential. Which doesn’t stop in our schools. It must be threaded throughout our economy, throughout our lives.

So let’s extend employment rights to all workers in the gig economy – the self-employed, agency workers and contractors as well as the traditionally employed. Let’s stop dancing on the head of a legalistic pin about when is a job not a job and when is self-employed not really self-employed. It’s a fake fight which big business always wins and Tory governments love to hide behind.

So let’s put an end to all that and just give rights to people. Yes, in one of the richest countries in the world in the 21st century, let’s just make basic employment rights non-negotiable in all circumstances and give them to everybody.

Anybody tells you it can’t be done, it’s because they don’t want to do it. They said it about the minimum wage. They said it about maternity rights. They said it about the NHS. Don’t let them frighten you out of the rights you deserve.

We need to revolutionise our trade unions for the digital age, finding new ways to build solidarity and collectivism.

And let’s not forget social enterprises: community-focused, people-oriented companies, that have thrived since the recession and will be vital to unlocking the future.

At last year’s Conference, I announced an independent commission to look at the future of work. It will be reporting shortly, having done a tremendous job, and I’d like to thank the chair, Helen Mountfield, and all the Commissioners.

This year, Conference, together, we rewrote the rules of politics. We overcame fear and we took the country with us. Using new digital platforms, instead of our biased media, we talked straight to the people and they heard our message.

In contrast, last September Theresa May had a secret meeting with Rupert Murdoch in New York. Nine months later, at the election, Murdoch’s papers did their best to start a Tory landslide. They threw the kitchen sink at Jeremy. But this time the dirty tricks didn’t work. This time it was not the Sun wot won it.

And let me tell you, Conference: it never will be the Sun wot won it again.

Winding up my speech last year, I predicted an early election. In which, I also said, we’re going to give the Tories the surprise of their lives. Well conference, we did it.

Jeremy, you did it. So this year I’m going to go out on another limb.

Yes, there’s hard work to do and no, we mustn’t be complacent, but Jeremy Corbyn has broken the spell of fear the Tories sought to cast on this country. He has helped us all to remember that politics should be about inspiring hope, not peddling despair. He has shown us again what a real alternative to Toryism looks like and what it can achieve.

And because of that, I tell you, Conference, Jeremy Corbyn will be our next Prime Minister.

And in ten or twelve years’ time, this Conference will be celebrating the achievements of two transformative terms of Labour government:

Abolishing tuition fees and reintroducing the education maintenance allowance;

Taking back our utilities into social ownership;

Re-nationalising our railways;

A £10/hour real living wage, and rising;

Hundreds of thousands of new council houses;

Waiting lists down by at least a million and A&E waiting times back to 4 hours;

No more Tory hospital closures;

Freezing the state pension age;

Free school meals for all primary school children and smaller class sizes;

Banning zero hours contracts and giving all workers full and equal rights from day one.

That’s what a Labour Government looks like. That’s what we do. That’s who we are.

Politics now is a fight between those who want to be feared and those who’re not frightened to love. Britain’s run out of patience with the tin-pot Machiavellis. Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Liam Fox and the rest of you: your time is up.

This country is ready for change. Ready to throw off the shackles, to turn back the tide; ready to do the right thing and to do the thing right. In place of fear, love.

Conference, Britain is ready for Labour.

Love wins and so will we.

Thank you.

Sadiq Khan – 2017 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Sadiq Khan, the Labour Mayor of London, at the Labour Party Conference held in Brighton on 25 September 2017.

Conference, it’s great to be back in Labour Brighton. And it’s great to see our Labour Party so fired up under Jeremy Corbyn. Labour confounded all expectations at the general election this year.

Let’s be clear, Theresa May called this snap election to try and wipe us out. And boy did she fail.

It was inspiring to see millions of people vote for the first time – especially so many young people. And it was inspiring to see so many people who used to vote for our Party return home to Labour.

We made huge progress in the general election and the credit for that goes to one person – the leader of our party – Jeremy Corbyn.

He mobilised our movement. He motivated our activists and reached voters we hadn’t reached before. Thanks to the hard work of Labour members and trade unionists, London elected four fantastic new Labour MPs.

We now have a Labour Member of Parliament representing Battersea, Enfield Southgate,Croydon Central, and, yes, Labour Kensington. Let’s hear it for our Labour gains in London. Our new MPs: Marsha de Cordova; Bambos Charalambous; Sarah Jones and Emma Dent Coad.

And by the way – hasn’t Emma been an amazing advocate for the neglected residents affected by the terrible Grenfell fire?

As a united Labour family we’re on the march. This year’s election came during an unbelievably difficult time for London, our capital,the city I love so much. It’s been one of the darkest times in London’s recent history. We’ve been through too much suffering, too much horror, and too much loss. The terrorist attack on Westminster – the heart of our democracy. The attack on innocent people, enjoying a night out in London Bridge and Borough Market. The horrific fire at Grenfell Tower. The attack on innocent people near Finsbury Park Mosque during Ramadan. And the attack at Parsons Green station on Londoners, as they travelled into work and school.

Nobody expects such tragedy. And no one should tolerate it. We prepare and practice for the worst, but we hope and pray it will never happen. Keeping Londoners safe is my top priority. And in all honesty, it’s hard – by far the hardest part of my job. It really does keep me awake at night.

Fearing the call in the early hours that came too often this summer, to say the worst had happened. More innocent Londoners, who have experienced unimaginable horrors to help and console. More funerals to attend of those who have been killed. And always, always more to do to keep Londoners safe.

But Conference – there are some people who spend their entire lives trying to stop these terrible events and who lead our response when they happen. Whose job it is to put themselves in harm’s way, every day, to try to keep the rest of us safe. And who do it with dedication, professionalism and heroism.

Conference, please stand and join me to show your appreciation to our amazing emergency services. Thanks to our police officers, community support officers and staff. Thanks to our firefighters and control room operators. Thanks to our frontline NHS staff, and all who support them – our paramedics, nurses, doctors and health workers. And thanks to our transport staff who are so often on the front line.

On behalf of all Londoners – and the entire Labour Party – thank you for everything you do. You truly are heroes.

In the darkness of this year the bravery of our emergency services has been a beacon of hope. We have witnessed incredible courage and self-sacrifice. Like PC Keith Palmer, who was tragically killed in the line of duty while protecting Parliament. Although he was unarmed, he didn’t hesitate before confronting the attacker. Rarely has a St George’s medal for bravery been so deserved. And our thoughts and prayers will always remain with his family and friends.

Or take Colleen Anderson, a junior doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital. When she saw the attack from the hospital window, she rushed across the river to treat people lying injured in the road.

Or Wayne Marques, the British Transport Police officer who, single-handedly, took on three armed attackers at London Bridge. Despite suffering terrible wounds, he fought them off until help arrived.

Or the hundreds of firefighters, who went far above the call of duty to save lives during the fire at Grenfell Tower. Who took extraordinary risks with their own safety.

And I want to say a special thank you to Dany Cotton – our London Fire Commissioner. Dany led the rescue operation at Grenfell Tower – going into the building and taking those risks alongside our firefighters. I want to thank Dany also for the honesty with which she talked about those awful scenes – and for being so open about receiving counselling after the fire. She’s encouraged many of our emergency responders and ordinary Londoners to do the same.

And we should thank the brave Transport for London staff, who calmly helped during the attack at Parsons Green station – evacuating the train and leading people to safety – regardless of the risk to themselves.

There’s no doubt that we face a growing threat. Experts say that the number of terrorist attacks this year is not a spike, but a long-term shift.

And crime is on the rise again. The types of crime we see are more complicated and harder to tackle. Violent crime is rising even faster – with too many killed or maimed as a result of knife crime or acid attacks. And ever more young people are being groomed and radicalised by evil extremists – whether here or abroad.

But Conference it doesn’t have to be this way. This all feels very familiar. A weak and divided Tory Government, refusing to face up to the challenges ahead. Bickering and infighting over Europe, putting our jobs and economy at risk. Chronic underinvestment in public services causing a crisis in our schools and hospitals. And crime on the rise.

But Conference, this isn’t the 1990s. This is now. It’s like Back to the Future, but it isn’t funny. Tory cuts to our emergency services have made it harder to keep us safe. A billion pounds cut from the Met Police – a billion pounds less for London’s policing budget.

The result? Fewer police officers on our streets. Police stations closed. And neighbourhood policing under attack. Even police counter-terrorism funding has been cut in real terms. The same goes for our fire service. Fewer fire engines. Fewer fire stations. And fewer fire fighters.

The same story is true in our National Health Service, our councils, our transport network and in every one of our public services.

Conference – we simply can’t go on like this. The brave men and women of our emergency services can’t do their job when the Tories are cutting their funding every year.

It must stop. The Government must give our emergency services the real-terms increase in funding that they desperately need – and right now.

You know, the Tories used to describe themselves as the party of law and order. Well that sounds like a bad joke today. And frankly, as a former Home Secretary, Theresa May should be utterly ashamed of her record.

Labour is the only Party with a plan to tackle rising crime. Labour is the only Party standing behind the men and women of our emergency services. And Labour is the only Party already making a real difference in towns and cities across the UK.

A Labour Government will finally put an end to years of Tory cuts to our emergency services. And a Labour Government, led by Jeremy Corbyn, will finally give our emergency services the proper pay rise they so desperately deserve. Not the insulting offer made by the Tories.

It’s Labour – in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Wales – that has a real plan to tackle violent crime – like gun crime, knife crime and acid attacks. It’s Labour that’s finally making social integration and community cohesion a priority so we can put a stop to the grooming and radicalisation of our young people.

It’s Labour that’s finally made hate crime and violence against women and girls a top priority for the police. And it’s Labour that’s restoring community trust in our police, and making our emergency services more reflective of the communities they serve.

You know it made me so proud to be the Labour Mayor when Cressida Dick was appointed as the first woman Met Commissioner in 188 years. And when Dany Cotton was appointed as the first woman Fire Commissioner in the brigade’s history.

And you know what? They were both appointed on merit as the best people for the job.

Conference, despite the challenges we’ve faced over the past year – I’m optimistic, positive and hopeful about our future. I’m so proud to call myself British and to call myself a Londoner. I’m confident that both London and the UK have bright futures ahead. That we can become a more prosperous, safe and equal country.

And, Conference, I’m optimistic about Labour’s future too. Optimistic that we’ll build on the success of Labour in power in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Wales. That we’ll make more progress in the local elections next year.That we’ll make a huge difference to the lives of millions. That we can build a fairer Britain. A more prosperous Britain. A safer Britain.

And that Labour under Jeremy Corbyn will win the next general election.

Thank you.

Rebecca Long-Bailey – 2017 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Rebecca Long-Bailey, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton on 25 September 2017.

Conference, when I was little, my dad would tell me stories of his job in Salford, unloading oil tankers. How we were known as “the workshop of the world”. Life was good for us back then. My dad’s work was unskilled, but it paid well. My parents even managed to get a mortgage for their own little house.

And from poverty-plagued childhoods, which made the film Angela’s Ashes look like an advert for a luxury minibreak, they felt proud of their achievement! And that was true of so many working class people right across Britain, for the first time in history they were truly being offered the chance to aspire!

But under Thatcher industries such as my father’s were put into what is so callously called ‘managed decline’. It meant factories shutting their doors, firms moving abroad or simply closing down, lower wages for those who could still find work, and cuts to benefits for those who couldn’t.

We now have the most regionally imbalanced economy in Europe. 40% of our economic output comes from London and the South East alone. And despite the pretence that we have ‘full employment’, we know the figures hide a worrying truth:

an insecure, low paid and ‘casualised’ workforce.

When the Prime Minister called the general election in spring, we were 20 points behind in the polls. The seven weeks that followed saw the biggest narrowing of the polls in British electoral history.

There were many things that contributed to that turnaround. The passion, integrity and strength of our leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The hard work of the Shadow Cabinet, not least my brilliant team Chi Onwurah, Alan Whitehead, Barry Gardiner, Bill Esterson, Jack Dromey, Gill Furniss and Dan Carden. The hard-work and dedication of every single person in this hall and in our movement.

But there were other key factors at play. A country fed up with the dogmas of political and economic neglect that, for so many, had only meant so much hardship. And a Manifesto that showed them that it didn’t have to be this way. When we promised an industrial strategy to end the economy’s reliance on the City of London. To properly fund our public services by making the top 5% pay their fair share. And to invest in our energy, transport and digital infrastructure to make it fit for the 21st Century

When we promised to take the radical action needed to tackle climate change,

and ensure that 60% of our energy comes from low carbon or renewable sources by 2030. To support projects like Swansea tidal lagoon and Moorside nuclear plant.

When we promised to introduce a £10 living wage. And to level the playing field between small and big business. We offered a vision of hope. And we offered transformation! Because we know what lies ahead.

Conference, we are standing on the precipice of the fourth industrial revolution,

a pace of technological and digital change so immense it will leave you feeling dizzy.

It will transform industry, it will transform our economy. And it has the potential to transform the quality of life of every single person in Britain.

But it will only do this if a Labour Government is holding the reins.

Now I know it’s hard to believe but I was 38 the other day. Just 20 years ago, on my 18th birthday, you had to dial up the internet, you checked your lottery numbers on teletext, my first mobile only received ten text messages, and you taped things off the telly with a cassette, which if, like in our house, you were at the cutting edge of 1990’S interior design, you kept them in those plastic boxes designed to look like books.

But people in their teens today have no idea what most of those things are.

And the pace of change we have seen in the last 20 years will pale in comparison to the next 20. Over the last few centuries, we have gradually learnt how to transfer more and more human skills to machines. With current technological breakthroughs, we are, for the first time, designing machines that do cognitive and non-routine work.

Machines that think!

But, with some estimates suggesting that half of all jobs could be lost to automation,

and that few businesses are ready to harness change, it also brings the threat of rising poverty and inequality. There is no doubt about what the digital age will look like under the Tories: monopoly profits for the few, and increased exploitation for the many.

Only Labour will ensure that workers and businesses are equipped to enjoy the prosperity this changing economy can bring.

We’ll restore the rights of workers – rolling out sectoral collective bargaining and guaranteeing unions access to the workplace – to ensure that new technology is not just an excuse for disgraced old employment practices. Because there is nothing cutting edge about hire-and-fire, casual contracts.

We’ll create the conditions for business to make those really ‘transformative’ discoveries which can change all our lives for the better, with an industrial agenda that is so transformational, it will eclipse the new deal set out by Franklin D Roosevelt in the history books.

We’ll bring investment in research and development in line with other major economies and create national missions to deal with the big issues of our time

And our National Education Service will allow every single person in this country to obtain the skills they need to thrive in a modern economy and ensure real diversity in our workplaces.

But it’s not enough for Britain to innovate. We’ll put Britain at the forefront of industrial manufacturing, so that the ideas conceived in Britain are manufactured and delivered here in Britain. ‘Made in Britain’ will not just be an idealistic vision of times gone by, it will be a source of national pride for future generations.

And finally, we’ll ensure that workers themselves can have a stake in our industrial journey alongside business.

Imagine if the technology which allows us to hail a taxi or order a takeaway via an app was shared by those who rely on it for work. They would have the power to agree their own terms and conditions and rates of pay, with the profits shared among them or re-invested for the future.

That’s why we are today launching a Report on Alternative Models of Ownership.

To start asking fundamental questions about how we achieve real diversity of business in the digital age, and how to ensure that it’s enormous potential benefits serve the many, not the few.

Now conference, the fourth industrial revolution is here! A time of profound economic and technological change. The Tories have had their chance. We’ve seen how they deal with industrial and technological change. And they have failed.

We either seize the possibilities it can bring us, technological advancement,

living standards and leisure time, that even Harold Wilson in the white heat of technology couldn’t have dreamed of! Or we let the Tories consign our heritage as a proud industrial nation to the dustbin of history.

As Klaus Schwab the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum once said:

“There has never been a time of greater promise, or greater peril.”

But we are ready! Together we will harness the fruits of the extraordinary changes that are coming. A society with more potential than any before, but built for the many, not the few. Conference, this is our time now!