Sunday started off, with a briefing on the partnership in power review process, and the document a stronger voice for members. The briefing was from Hazel Blears MP, Simon Burgess of the NPF and Kemlesh Karia of Labour Party Staff.
They reviewed the document, stressing the importance of the document and the process that the document had come from. The main reason behind the review was to ensure that local parties feel connected to the policy development process, and as one of the changes local parties will have a input / can make amendments to the documents at the final stage.
After Hazel Blear’s opening there was a chance for questions, with question coming on police authorities, community safety, network of party of supporters, the single policy document, ethnic minority issues, and a question from me, asking the for more flexibility on regional issues, allowing us to work and be invited to events taking place in Manchester when they are considering policy issues.
Kamlesh Karia, detailed more of the changes in the document, the key ones been fewer documents, better acknowledgment of submissions, more networks of members for greater input into the process, better connection to the policy and campaign process, and the importance of Conference as been the final place of decision.
The first session of conference proper, started off with a welcome and introduction from Ian Mccartney as chair of the party, Cecila Barlow MP a local Brighton MP, and then on to tribute’s for Robin Cook, Mo Mowlan and Jim Callaghan.
The tributes were started by Neil Kinnock, followed by Bill Tobutt a former local councilor from Cardiff on Jim Callaghan, including a rebuke to the party over pensions. Jim Devine on Robin Cook and Vera Beaird on Mo Mowlan.
Following on from that there was a tribute to the victims of the London Bombings, presentation of National Merit Awards and the Conference arrangements Committee Report.
Before the first debate started there was a speech from John Prescott followed by Matt Carter, outgoing national secretary, both stressed the importance of how the campaign hasn’t finished yet, and how with the ideas in the PIP documents, the party can move on to the challenge of building for a fourth term.
The debates on the transport section of the policy forum, along with the PIP documents then followed, with speakers including Ian Mccartney, Alistair Dialing and others.
More to follow later.