Jim McMahon – 2022 Speech to Labour Party Conference

The speech made by Jim McMahon on 27 September 2022.

Conference, it’s wonderful to meet again.

In my role I’ve been up and down this country. I am proud of Britain, proud of what we can achieve together, and proud of the hard graft of working people.

That pride stands in stark contrast to a government showing utter contempt for our great nation.

Allowing over a million sewage spills over the last six years; one every two-and-a-half minutes: every one sanctioned by Tory MPs who blocked changes for tougher action.

How could any government that loves this country allow this abuse of our open spaces, rivers and sea?

Conference, their new leader claims she is “Trusted to deliver” but they’re the same old Tories. Friends, we know you don’t trust a Tory by their words, but their record!

Just one example; during Truss’s time as Environment Secretary; she signed off £24 million pounds of funding cuts for environmental protection, including monitoring sewage discharges. Every one of those sewage spills goes right to her door and their plan sees it continuing until at least 2035.

If only Liz Truss was as angry about raw human sewage polluting our country as she is about importing French cheese into it!

Conference, Labour will clean up the water industry.

Being a custodian of water and the environment will be a duty again. The institutions intended to hold them accountable are weakened and toothless as water bosses laugh all the way to the bank.

A Labour government will:

• Deliver mandatory monitoring of all sewage outlets
• Give the Environment Agency the power and resources to properly enforce the rules
• Introduce a legally binding target to end 90% of sewage discharges by 2030
• Introduce automatic fines for discharges, and a standing charge penalty for discharge points without monitoring in place
• Ensure any failure to improve is paid for by eroding dividends, not added to customer bills, or hitting vital investment in the system
• Water bosses that routinely and systematically break the rules will be held professionally and personally accountable, by striking off company directors and ensuring illegal activity is punished.

Conference, I said Labour will clean up the water industry, and I meant it.

Our plan for change does not stop there. It’s not enough to halt the surge of pollution, Labour’s ambition will breathe life back into our countryside and coastal communities; areas long abandoned by the Tories.

In 1951, Labour created the first National Park in the Peak District. From 1997, Labour delivered ‘right to roam’. The next Labour Government will bring the protections and opportunities afforded to our national parks, to our coastal areas. Bringing nature and the environment to every community, across our town and cities, embracing unloved spaces, the canal networks and green routes. Conference, much more will come on this.

We will meet our responsibility to hand the country we inherit to the next generation in a better condition than we began with. We will realise the right for everyone to have a rich, fulfilled and healthy life with nature and a decent environment at its heart.

In every aspect of DEFRA; nature, the environment, animal welfare, farming, fishing and everything else, there is work to do.

To deliver on our plan we need your help to get Labour into power. Let’s get to every single constituency, every community and every household, let’s show them the Tories record and then show them Labour’s plan.

Conference we are closer to power than at any time in the last decade, with Keir Starmer as our next Prime Minister, we will deliver the fresh start the country needs.

Let’s go and make it happen.