Banbury Constituency Labour Party

Labour Party Conference Report, Brighton 2015 by Mark Cherry, Banbury CLP

Discussion of trade union bill (In its third reading)

Seems intent on destroying union members’ right to strike. Strikers must wear armbands and inform the police of their activities. Material presented on social media could be interpreted as a breach of the law. More worrying is the Conservative party’s attempt to make it impossible for unions to fund the Labour Party in an attempt to finish the Labour Party off.

Selection of women for Parliamentary and local government candidates
In the case where a Parliamentary or local government incumbent has stood down or died, the Labour Party candidate must be a woman. More details available.

Total membership
The Labour Party has almost as many members as the Conservatives, UKIP and the Lib Dems together. It’s important that we welcome new members as we go forward

Leaders Speech
Jeremy Corbyn’s speech was well received. He spoke of a new type of politics.
He said the Labour Party was going to do more for self-employed people, we would fight to stay in the EU and we would build more council houses in the future.
He stated his opposition to the renewal of Trident. (I’m strongly opposed to this view and fear it might split the party, though I appreciate that Jeremy’s view is shared by many members and councillors in Banbury CLP).
He referred to the thousands of steel job losses at Redcar, and roundly criticised the government for failing to intervene.
The Labour Party will totally oppose the Conservatives austerity programme.
He claimed that, through the new registration process, the Conservative party is effectively removing millions from the electoral roll in an attempt to “gerrymander” elections in London and in Wales. Up to 2 million people could lose their right to vote. From today Labour starts a nationwide campaign to ensure the disenfranchised are reregistered and to register those, especially the young, who have never been politically engaged

National Constitutional Committee (NCC)
Judith Blake was elected to the NCC.
National executive committee (NEC)
The NEC recommended rule changes were passed.
The NEC issued a statement supporting nationalisation of rail franchises and opposition to the breakup of network rail.

Labour Conference 2015_audience

Debates and speeches highlights
Stella Creasy spoke on behalf of the Cooperative movement about living standards and sustainability, taking the fight to the Tories, the Local Government Report and stronger, safer communities.

Highlights for me were:

Councillor Mark Cherry (Banbury CLP) “…. stood in an ‘unwinnable seat’, went from working next to David Cameron’s house to being on the dole!” “I look to the by-election in Grimsbury next week.” “We must, as a party, fight the Children’s Centres cuts Oxfordshire where 44 centres face closure as a result of the Tory-led County Council county reducing the budget from £16 to £8 million.”

Kerry McCarthy “90% of UK towns break clean air limits.”

“Government is no friend of people who live in rural communities. They scrapped the Agricultural Wages Board, let the wage gap between urban and rural areas rise and left rural businesses and communities isolated without broadband or decent transport.”

“We need a farming industry that is economically viable, environmentally stable and maintains the best welfare standards.”

Jonathan Ashworth gave a rousing speech (copy available) “The Labour Party is a great force for social justice and we need to win again to put our values into action.”

Jim McMahon (leader of LGA) “Devolution is a labour value. Even though the Tory policy is really to help Tory cuts, we owe it to people to put control in Labour hands where we can. The cuts will come anyway.”

John Healey “We will oppose the right to buy affordable homes. We can and must argue sound economic social justice together. We will build more homes. Home ownership fell during the last five years. We should have a commission to look at declining house purchasing what we can do about it.”

Gary Heather (Islington North on a contemporary motion on housing). “Genesis will no longer build social housing, but houses for sale and rent. 1.5 million council homes have been sold since 1980. We must oppose housing benefit cuts that stop those in London affording a home. £9 out of every £10 spent on housing in Britain goes on housing benefit.”

John Tricket “David Cameron is the one going back to 1980s. Tory cuts are based on a false ideological prejudice. Labour’s priorities are housing, education and giving space for those in need, including refugees.”

Contemporary motions
I voted for the following contemporary motions:
Housing, and opposition to benefit cuts. Carried (almost unanimously)
Support for BBC. Carried (almost unanimously).
NEC rail statement. Carried.

Mark Cherry & Yvette Cooper

Mark Cherry & Yvette Cooper

Mark Cherry is Councillor for Banbury Calthorpe Oxfordshire County Council, for Banbury Ruscote Cherwell District Council and for Ruscote Banbury Town Council

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