Labour Party conference 2022 latest: Bullish Angela Rayner says party ready to win power ‘just as we did in 1997’

Angela Rayner has said the Labour Party is ready to “rise to the occasion” and lead the nation “just as we did in 1997” as senior figures were bullish about their chances of winning the next general election. 

The Labour deputy leader told party activists in Liverpool that “just as our country was desperate for change in 1997, we need change now” as she argued the UK is at a “crossroads”. 

She said: “Labour doesn’t just have a vision for this country. We have a plan. We have a plan to grow a fairer, greener economy.  

“We have a plan to rebuild trust in public office. And to clean up politics. We have a plan to unleash the potential the Tories have held back for far too long. And our plan for Britain means we’ll rise to the occasion – just as we did in 1997.” 

Her comments came after Sir Keir Starmer claimed there is now a “belief that Labour will win the next general election” while Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, said it is “odds on” that the party will beat the Tories. 

​​Follow the latest updates below.

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1:55PM

‘Labour Party is back on its feet’

The afternoon session in the main conference hall here in Liverpool will focus on the question of how Labour can win the next general election. 

Kicking off the session, Shabana Mahmood, Labour’s national campaign coordinator, told activists: “As your national campaign coordinator it is my great pleasure to report that after a decade of defeat, decline and embarrassment at the ballot box, the Labour Party is back on its feet.”

1:49PM

‘Public ownership is good’

Mick Lynch has gone down a storm among Labour activists just now at a packed transport fringe event at the Liverpool Hilton hotel, reports Dominic Penna.

The secretary-general of the RMT rail union insisted it would “not be divided from our friends in the Labour Party”, but said the party’s top brass must be kept “under manners [and] under pressure”.

Mr Lynch also praised Tan Dhesi, the shadow rail minister, for defending the work of Andy McDonald – Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow transport secretary, who quit in protest against Sir Keir Starmer’s policies last year.

“What we need to get back to the heart of in our movement is that public ownership is good,” he said. “It’s good just for itself. It should be a permanent value that we should hold in regard to everything.”

1:31PM

‘We should be taking rail back into public ownership’

“Now is the time” to take the nation’s railways back into public ownership, the shadow rail minister has told a fringe event at Labour Party conference in Liverpool, as he argued it would tackle the cost-of-living and climate crises, Dominic Penna writes.

Tan Dhesi said the “failed franchise model” was not working, telling activists: “We believe that under a Labour government we should be taking rail back into public ownership.”

In July this year, Sir Keir Starmer was forced to clarify his position on the railways, which he believes should be nationalised as it is the “pragmatic” thing to do, after dropping pledges to nationalise water and energy.

1:03PM

Watch: Keir Starmer says Labour would reinstate 45p tax rate 

12:50PM

Labour chairwoman unveils policy review

Labour can “unite the country” and ”clean up our politics”, party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds said as she set out a series of policies aimed at winning the next election.

The plans contained in a new policy review include a decade-long commitment to overhaul social care, a promise to recruit 6,500 new teachers and extend statutory maternity leave.

The Stronger Together policy review, unveiled at the party’s conference in Liverpool, is based on 12 months of consultation with Labour’s frontbench teams and extensive discussions with unions and party members.

Ms Dodds, who led the review, said: “Nobody who reads this report can be in any doubt that Labour is now the party of ideas in British politics today.”

12:33PM

Labour unveils domestic violence crackdown 

Perpetrators of domestic violence would be made to sign a register to monitor their behaviour in the same way as sex offenders under Labour plans.

Shadow justice secretary Steve Reed said the plan would help tackle an “epidemic of violence” against women and girls.

The domestic abuse register would mean those convicted of serial offences and stalking would have to give personal information to the police and notify of any change in circumstances.

Mr Reed said: “Under the Conservatives, criminals are repeatedly let off while victims are being let down. Labour will get a grip of the Tories’ failure to tackle the epidemic of violence against women and girls – with improved monitoring of domestic abuse perpetrators, longer jail terms for rapists, and more rights for victims. It’s time to put those suffering at the hands of offenders first.”

11:57AM

‘The Tories have broken Britain’

Angela Rayner said a Labour government would “clean up politics”. 

Concluding her speech, she said: “Labour doesn’t just have a vision for this country. We have a plan. We have a plan to grow a fairer, greener economy.  

“We have a plan to rebuild trust in public office. And to clean up politics. We have a plan to unleash the potential the Tories have held back for far too long. And our plan for Britain means we’ll rise to the occasion – just as we did in 1997. 

“Because the Conservatives have made their choice. They’ve chosen their side. But we are on yours.”

She said a Labour government would “unite this country through the dark times ahead” and would “always be on the side of working people”.   

Ms Rayner added: “The Tories have broken Britain – but together we’ll rebuild it again. And make Britain work for working people once again.”

11:52AM

Labour to crackdown on outsourcing

Angela Rayner has announced a Labour government would crackdown on government outsourcing. 

A new rule would be put in place, stating that public bodies would have to show that work cannot be done in-house before they are allowed to outsource it. 

She said: “The Tories have become too dependent on handing away our public services on the cheap, and now we are paying the price.   

“We will oversee the biggest wave of insourcing for a generation. Today I can announce that before any service is contracted out, public bodies must show that work could not be better done in-house.”

11:48AM

Angela Rayner: Labour faces 1997 moment 

Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, said that Labour now faces a similar moment as it did back in 1997. 

She told party activists: “Just as we were in 1997, we are now at a crossroads. The moment of choice is upon us. Our movement to show our country what we can do together. 

“The next Labour government will pump money back into the pockets of local communities, the people who build Britain.”

11:44AM

‘A Labour government will be on your side’

Angela Rayner has labelled Liz Truss “level down Liz” and “trickle down Liz” as she repeatedly asked the Prime Minister: “Whose side are you on?” 

Ms Rayner told Labour activists: “A Labour government was on my side when I wanted to be a good mum to my kids and improve their lives.

“I promise you this, that when I am deputy prime minister, a Labour government will be on your side too.” 

11:42AM

Angela Rayner vows to protect right to strike 

Angela Rayner has claimed the Government is “coming after” the things that working people value. She also vowed to protect the right to strike. 

She said: “Be in no doubt, they are coming after the most basic things that we expect: Decent work, fair pay, the foundations of a family life. 

“So long as I have breath in my body I will defend those rights and including the right to strike.”

11:39AM

Angela Rayner: ‘Britain is at a crossroads’ 

Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, is now addressing party activists in Liverpool in her big conference opening speech. 

Ms Rayner said that she believes the party has a “duty” to build a future that is “brighter than the past”.

Attacking the Tories’ record in government, Ms Rayner said it was a case of “too little, too late mate”. 

She said: “We need change now because Britain is at a crossroads.”

11:30AM

Union boss compares Tories to Shrek villain 

Christine McAnea, the general secretary of the Unison union, has compared the Conservative Government to a villain in one of the Shrek films as she criticised the “mini-Budget”.   

She told Times Radio: “I think this gamble is just a huge risk. But the sad thing is, it’s not just a risk for the Conservatives, it’s a risk for the entire country. And yeah, it’s just shocking.

“I’ve been told not to do this, but I’m going to say it. I don’t know if you know the movie Shrek and Lord Farquaad  in it says something, I’m going to paraphrase, he says ‘some of you will get very poor, but that’s a risk I’m prepared to take’. And that’s what I think, that’s what they’re doing.

“They don’t care that most people in this country will not benefit from this.”

11:19AM

‘Good chance’ Labour wins power

Ed Miliband has said there is a “good chance” that Labour will form the next government. 

The shadow climate change secretary was asked during an interview on Times Radio this morning if he believes Labour is on course to win power at the next general election. 

He said: “I think there’s a good chance of it, but I know from my experience that I don’t think you take any of these things for granted, I think there’s a fight going on for the future of the country.”

11:04AM

Labour activists sing National Anthem

The singing of the National Anthem at Labour’s party conference for the first time in years went off without a hitch – but some trade union delegates opted to stay away, writes Dominic Penna. 

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer led tributes to the late Elizabeth II before an impeccably-observed minute’s silence and a rendition of God Save the King.

Multiple rows of seats that were reserved for a delegation from the trade union Unite were virtually empty during the tribute, with nobody at all sat on two of the rows.

Angela Rayner and Sir Keir Starmer sing the National Anthem at the start of Labour Party conference 

Credit:
Phil Noble/Reuters

Only the first verse of the National Anthem was sang at conference, with the lyrics written out on a leaflets given out to members.

Hailing the country’s “greatest monarch”, Sir Keir said in his opening remarks: “She created a special personal relationship with all of us, a relationship based on service and devotion to our country. Even now, after the mourning period has passed, it still feels impossible to imagine a Britain without her.

“Hardly any of us have ever known anything else. For us the late Queen has always been simply the Queen, the only Queen, above all else our Queen.”

10:26AM

Kwasi Kwarteng defends tax cuts 

Kwasi Kwarteng has denied that his new tax cuts favour those at the top, stating that he is “focused on tax cuts across the board”.

When it was put to him that his plans “favour overwhelmingly people at the very top”, he told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme: “They favour people right across the income scale.”

10:15AM

‘There is more to come’

Kwasi Kwarteng, the Chancellor, said the new Government intends to bring forward even more tax cuts in the future. 

He told the BBC: “There is more to come. We have only been here 19 days. I want to see over the next year people retain more of their income because I believe it is the British people that are going to drive this economy.”

10:12AM

Kwasi Kwarteng cannot rule out further government borrowing 

Some commentators have criticised the Government’s spending plans on the grounds that they will add tens of billions of pounds to borrowing. 

Kwasi Kwarteng was asked this morning if he could rule out further Government borrowing in the coming months and years as the national debt continues to climb above £2 trillion. 

The Chancellor said an “extreme” and unforeseen event could happen which would require action and therefore he “can’t possibly say that we won’t borrow to deal with that”. 

10:08AM

‘We had to respond in a generous way’

Kwasi Kwarteng was asked this morning if he was concerned about the Government’s “mini-Budget” plans potentially further fuelling rising inflation. 

The Chancellor said the Government had to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a “fiscally expansive way”.

“We had two multigenerational unprecedented events,” he told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme.

“There’s no way that a government couldn’t have… shouldn’t respond in a fiscally expansive way, in a way that we can support the economy, support our people through these two unprecedented shocks… we had to respond in a generous way”.

10:02AM

Chancellor ‘focused on the longer term’

Kwasi Kwarteng said he does not comment on market movements after he was asked about the FTSE falling in the wake of his “mini-Budget” on Friday. 

He told the BBC: “I’ve been focused on the longer term and the medium term, and I think it was absolutely necessary that we had a long-term growth plan.

“What was unacceptable and unsustainable was the idea that we were going to have a 70-year tax high… and that we could continue simply raising taxes”.

10:01AM

Kwasi Kwarteng brushes off questions about falling pound

Kwasi Kwarteng, the Chancellor, has brushed off questions about the pound slumping following his “mini-Budget” on Friday.

He said he was “focused on the economy” when asked whether he was nervous about sterling diving to its lowest level in decades, the stock markets falling and the cost of Government borrowing going up.

He told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme: “We’ve got to have a much more front-footed approach to growth and that’s what my Friday statement was all about.

“I think that if we can get some of the reforms…, if we get business back on its feet, we can get this country moving and we can grow our economy, and that’s what my focus is 100 per cent about”.

9:42AM

Key points from Starmer’s interview

Two things stood out in Sir Keir Starmer’s interview this morning. 

Firstly, his refusal to guarantee that Labour would freeze people’s energy bills for more than six months. Given that the Government has promised a two year freeze, failing to match that commitment is unlikely to be well-received by many voters.

Secondly, the growing sense of confidence that Labour can win the next general election. Sir Keir is clearly enjoying the fact that Labour has a sizeable poll lead and that the party’s fortunes have changed significantly since the crushing defeat at the 2019 general election. 

9:30AM

‘There is a belief that Labour can win the next election’

Sir Keir Starmer said that as PM he would seek to “grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out”. 

Asked if he believes Labour can win the next general election, Sir Keir said there is a “sense now” that people are turning to Labour. 

He said he believes people who ditched Labour at the 2019 general election to vote for the Tories are now “coming back to the Labour Party”. 

He said that the “hope of a Labour government has turned into a belief in a Labour government” and “there is a belief that Labour can win the next election”. 

9:23AM

Sir Keir Starmer defends strike stance

Sir Keir Starmer was asked why he does not want his Labour frontbenchers to appear on picket lines. 

He said that his job is to “discuss this with trade union leaders” and that his priority is getting into power “where we can do things”. 

9:20AM

‘Wages have been stagnant for 10 years’

Sir Keir Starmer was asked if he believes people’s pay should be rising in line with inflation. 

The Labour leader said that “wages have been stagnant for 10 years or so” and it is ‘understandable” that people want a pay rise.

He said: “It is reasonable to expect that wages are set taking account of the cost of living which is going up.”

However, he stopped short of saying that wages should rise in line with inflation.

9:17AM

Keir Starmer defends electricity plans

Sir Keir Starmer said the Tory governments of the past 12 years have adopted the approach of “short term, short term, short term, react to a crisis”.

The Labour leader was asked how he intends to deliver on his new pledge to make the UK’s electricity system carbon-free by 2030 (see the post below at 08.20). 

He said that he believes it is “absolutely doable” but conceded it would be “difficult” to achieve. 

Asked how Labour would keep the lights on all of the time using only renewable energy, Sir Keir said that “you would always have a transition” period using fossil fuels. 

9:11AM

Keir Starmer fails to commit to lengthy energy bills freeze

Sir Keir Starmer said the next few months will be difficult for many families in the UK amid rising prices. 

He told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that “we are in a very serious situation… a very fragile situation”.

The Government’s energy bills freeze is due to last for two years. Asked if Labour would do the same, Sir Keir said: “We will freeze for six months, [that] was our plan…”

He said Labour would look at the situation again in April next year: “After that of course, we will need another plan.”

9:00AM

‘He doesn’t need my advice’ 

Ed Miliband, the former leader of the Labour Party, was asked this morning if he has given any advice to Sir Keir Starmer. 

He told Sky News “I sort of think he doesn’t need my advice” but if he was to offer one piece of wisdom it would be “don’t pretend to be something you are not”. 

Asked if he believed Sir Keir has a better chance of winning a general election than he did, Mr Miliband replied: “Yes, definitely.” 

8:57AM

‘We have said we are against it’

Ed Miliband, the shadow climate change secretary, has suggested Labour would reverse the Government’s decision to scrap the 45p top rate of income tax. 

He said that “we have said we are against it” and “we are going to be consistent” on tax matters in the next election manifesto. 

However, he said a Labour government would not reverse the decision to take 1p off the basic rate of income tax. 

He told Sophy Ridge on Sky News that “we don’t think that should be reversed”.

8:51AM

Burnham does not rule out return as MP 

Andy Burnham said he does not rule out a return to Westminster in the future but stressed he intends to complete his second term as the Mayor of Greater Manchester. 

Asked if he could run for the Labour leadership again one day, he told Sky News: “I wouldn’t rule out one day going back as I have said, I am just going to be honest about that, and I probably am a better politician, I think anyway, these days because I am not caveating everything, second guessing everything, I am just calling things as I see them.”

8:45AM

Labour needs to ‘be bolder’

Sir Keir Starmer needs to “be bolder” in his policy offering to voters, Andy Burnham has said. 

The Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester told Sophy Ridge on Sky News: “I am supporting Keir, I want the party to unite here in Liverpool… we have got a clear and sustained poll lead… I think the Government has now opened up a huge opportunity for Labour to put out a programme that connects with ordinary people. 

“I would say be bolder, be clear about what we will do. I am a little disappointed to hear the party saying it is going to rule out electoral reform. I ould say hear the mood of conference on that particular issue.”

8:40AM

‘Odds on’ for Labour government

Andy Burnham, the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, said he believes it is “odds on” there will be a Labour government within the next two years. 

He told Sophy Ridge on Sky News: “Keir Starmer has put us in the position where we can win the next election.

“This is the first conference since we left government where I think it is odds on that there could be a Labour government within one or two years.”

8:37AM

Andy Burnham accuses Government of ‘flagrant act of vandalism’  

Andy Burnham, the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, said he can still “barely believe” what was announced in the “mini-Budget”. 

He told Sophy Ridge on Sky News that people’s “heads are slipping below water” and the Government’s plans represented a “flagrant act of vandalism on the social cohesion of this country”. 

Mr Burnham said that the Government “has drawn battle lines with working people” and it is now the job of the Labour Party to “speak for ordinary people” and “put the Government on borrowed time”. 

Mr Burnham said that now “wasn’t the time for tax cuts”. 

8:24AM

The plan for today 

Sir Keir Starmer will be grilled by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg just after 9am this morning. 

Labour conference proper will then get underway just after 11am with Angela Rayner, the party’s deputy leader, scheduled to deliver her opening speech at 11.25am. 

There will then be an afternoon session in the main conference hall on “winning the general election”. 

8:20AM

Labour pledges to make UK ‘clean energy superpower’ 

We can expect a raft of policy announcements from Labour over the next few days and we have already had one big one. 

Sir Keir Starmer last night announced plans to make the UK a world-leading “clean energy superpower” by 2030: The Labour leader wants the nation to have a zero-carbon electricity system by the end of the current decade. 

The plans would see the UK’s entire power system run using just renewables and nuclear power. If it happened, the UK would be the first country in the world with a totally clean system.

Sir Keir said: “The British people are sick and tired of rocketing energy bills and our energy system being exposed to dictators. They want long-term solutions to cut bills for good.

“That is why I am proud to announce that a central mission of my Labour Government will be to turn the UK into a clean energy superpower.”

Sir Keir claimed the plans would save the British people £93 billion on their energy bills and create a wave of high-skilled jobs. 

8:14AM

Good morning 

Good morning from Liverpool. 

The Labour Party’s annual conference will formally get underway this morning with Sir Keir Starmer facing the traditional morning-of-conference big interview with the BBC. 

He will be grilled by Laura Kuenssberg just after 9am. Kwasi Kwarteng, the Chancellor, will also be on the programme.

It promises to be a very busy next few days and I will be on hand to guide you through the key developments. 

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