The next destination on our party conference tour sees us heading to Liverpool, where the Labour Party will be holding their annual conference. The last Labour conference in Liverpool (2011) took place a year after a divisive leadership contest, with the party debating reforms to the party’s rulebook and election process and working out how best to challenge a new Prime Minister. Well, they do say that history repeats itself…
To say that it’s been a turbulent few months for the Labour Party is probably an understatement. After the result of the EU referendum, a number – the majority, in fact – of Jeremy Corbyn’s front-bench team resigned in protestation over what they perceived to be a failure to campaign effectively during the referendum campaign. A hastily-convened reshuffle saw a number of Corbyn supporters take on multiple roles, and some junior roles (including that of Shadow Charities Minister) remain unfilled.
The resignations were enough to trigger a leadership contest. With a number of related court cases bubbling away in the background, Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith have spent the summer fighting over the positon of party leader, with the result of the leadership election set to be announced on the Saturday before conference formally opens.
No matter what the outcome of the leadership contest, the leader – either the reconfirmed Corbyn or the newly anointed Smith – will have a number of challenges on their plate. First of all will be the task of attempting to reunite the party, whilst also hurrying along the process of policy development so that Labour can offer a clear alternative to Theresa May’s government. Proposed new boundaries pose a further threat to both party unity and the party’s future success.
Is it all doom and gloom? Well, the polls paint a negative picture for those in the Labour Party, with Theresa May and the Conservatives opening up significant gaps over both Jeremy Corbyn and Labour when it comes to electability. On the other hand, there is no doubt that Corbyn’s leadership has significantly increased party membership. In addition, the election of Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London in May gives Labour a platform from which to govern and try and give voters a vision of what Labour in power could look like.
It promises to be an eventful conference, and CAF will be attendance throughout. In addition to our event (details below), we’ll have a stand where we’re be exploring the role that charities can play in making Britain stronger. Is there a game? Of course there is – and a leader board! You’ll have to come along to find out more, but for now let’s just say that we think it’s important that politicians commit to working with charities to clear some of Britain’s hurdles….
You can find us at stand 40 from Sunday – Wednesday.
We’ll also be holding a fringe event where we’ll be exploring the contribution that charities can make as Britain begins the process of Brexit, and the best opportunities for government and charities to work together to build a positive new settlement for Britain.
Join us for:
Team GB? How can charities and government make Britain stronger?
1930 – 2100, Sunday 25th September
Hall 2H, 1, ACC, Liverpool
Dr John Low, Chief Executive, Charities Aid Foundation (Chair)
Susan Elan Jones MP, Chair of the APPG on Charities and Volunteering
Seb Dance MEP, Member of ENVI and Development Committees in the European Parliament
Cllr Tony Newman, Labour Local Government Association spokesperson and Leader of Croydon Council
Caroline Macfarland, Executive Director, CoVi