Saturday 21 September 2019 / 3:47 PM Ian Lavery

Ian Lavery speaking at Labour Party Conference


Good Afternoon Conference. It is wonderful to be here in Brighton.

Two years ago in this very hall I spoke to delegates about how on the back of a campaign of hope, Labour had shocked the punditry and come within a whisker of 10 Downing Street.

It was an election and a result that few expected. In it Labour scored its best vote for 20 years, its biggest increase in vote share since 1945. And that result was entirely down to those in this hall and those across the country. Members and Trade Unionists working in tandem to deliver Labour’s message of hope.

Conference, a General Election is almost upon us once more, we have a golden opportunity to change our country for the better. Britain is at a crossroads after a decade of Tory failure.

Boris Johnson’s Conservatives want to drive our country over a No Deal cliff edge, with the only people who’d benefit from this chaos being the vulture capitalists and disaster speculators who fuel this government of the elite.

As soon as No Deal is off the table, we need a General Election to get rid of Johnson’s government of the wealthy elite and have the chance of a real change of direction.

Labour stands for the real change Britain needs after years of Conservative austerity and failure. We will rebuild and transform our country so that no one is held back and no community left behind. 

Brexit is a smokescreen for business as usual whether we stay or go. The Liberal Democrat’s are now the Remain arm of the Tory Party. The Brexit Party masquerade as representing the working class yet their policy announcements benefit the richest alone. And the Tories remain like a grim spectre to feast on the fetid carcass of a Britain they have destroyed

Labour is what it always has been, the party of social and economic justice. We see a better future for our country where everyone can share in its prosperity. The last nine years of austerity have caused misery to so many and our public services to be stretched to the brink.

And conference, that was inside of the EU.

We cannot simply pretend like the Lib Dems that cancelling Brexit will make this go away. We cannot pretend like the Tories or Brexit Party that leaving will make everything better.

Conference, the Labour Party’s mission is to smash a state of affairs that sees the rich get richer, whilst the rest make do with the crumbs off the table. Our Party was founded to give voice to the working class in the Palace of Westminster. It remains a coalition of Trade Unionists, Socialists, Liberals and social democrats that saw a better future for our country and our clas.s It was hardwired into our communities through the workplace, union lodges, social, recreational and even religious spaces.

From the rudimentary health systems developed in mining communities like my hometown of Ashington, to the struggles against facism and racism like the Bristol Bus Boycott. Bringing our communities together to fight injustice and intolerance has always been in Labour’s DNA. 

Whether you live in Battersea or Bedlington, Port Talbot or Paisley. The issues of low pay, bad housing and poor transport are causing real harm. The Labour and Trade Union movement has always been rooted in these communities and these campaigns.

And whilst many workplaces have closed and society has changed, injustice remains and as a Party we must adapt to build power, to win a diverse chorus of voices to our cause and to win. And conference this is how we will win the next General Election

Up and down the UK as Westminster ties itself in knots over constitutional problems, a group or ordinary people are doing some extraordinary things. 

From families taking on rogue landlords, who are forcing people to live in damp infested housing to football fans organising against billionaire Sports Direct Owner Mike Ashley, Labour’s community organising unit are finding leaders in every community and backing them to win. These are battles that the Labour Party are proud to back. They are what the Labour party was built on and how we will win. 

Winning the next election will be because of people in this room and people up and down our great nation. We know our comrades in the Trade Union movement from their fantastic general secretaries to the members on the ground will strain every sinew to get rid of this vile government.

And we know our fabulous membership will do all they can for us to win. The Tories are relying on voter apathy on a failure of people opposed to them to vote. We need a mass voter registration drive. Make sure your family and friends are signed up, knock on your neighbours.

Comrades, it is our duty to win the next election. To end the austerity that has destroyed our country and to take on the vested interests holding people back. To kick start real investment in every nation and in every region. To create hundreds of thousands of good jobs with a Green Industrial Revolution. To rebuild our public services, and give our NHS, schools and police the money they need, by taxing those at the top to properly fund services for everyone. To protect the environment, provide decent jobs and secure homes and build a fairer country that cares for all.

This is our time. This is your future.

We are on the brink of a radical, reforming Labour Government led by Jeremy Corbyn that is set to transform society for the many. Divided parties win nothing. We have a duty to be united and to work together. As the Union banners past and present proudly proclaim; Unity is strength

Let’s get out into every City Town and village. Every street in every community to articulate our life changing policies with a sense of pride and positivity. 

Conference, take out your mobile phones. Go to website and sign up to play your part in ensuring we win. Comrades, let us leave no stone unturned and ensure that the next time we all meet Jeremy Corbyn is the Prime Minister. Leading a Labour government that puts people before privilege.