Shadow Cabinet ministers are to attend a host of anti-Brexit events at Labour conference as the party continues to backslide on leaving the EU. Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott is due to speak on a panel organised by the Alliance of Free Movement group titled “Why Labour Must Support Free Movement”. Is Labour’s policy about to shift to backing free movement after Brexit?
Shadow Cabinet member Owen Smith is speaking at an event hosted by Sinn Fein titled “Standing Against Brexit”. We know Owen hates Brexit and wants to reverse the result, though this is pushing collective responsibility to its limits. Not sure what Irish republicans are doing at another party’s conference in Brighton.
Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer will be at the “View From the EU” event hosted by Brexit-hating Eurocrat Glenis Willmott. He will be joined by European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans and French ambassador Sylvie Bermann. Later on Sir Keir is joining ultra Remainers Hilary Benn and Chuka Umunna on a panel organised by the pro-EU think tank Centre for European Reform. Then to cap it all Gina Miller’s anti-Brexit group Best for Britain is turning up for an event called “No Brexit is Better Than a Bad Brexit”. Shadow Cabinet members will be openly discussing opposing Brexit and supporting free movement, is Labour now the pro-Remain party?
Tory members will vent their election campaign frustrations at senior party officials during a post-mortem scheduled for the first hours of conference. The agenda for the meeting of the National Conservative Convention, the most senior body in the voluntary party, centres on the “General Election Review”, which insiders say will deliver a heated and withering verdict to party chairman Patrick McLoughlin and CCHQ colleagues. An email to party activists said:
“The Convention will receive a presentation from the Rt Hon Sir Eric Pickles on the feedback gathered from Party Members over the three months since the General Election in June.”
A Tory source who contributed to the feedback said: “I don’t know of anyone who wrote anything positive”. The NCC, slated for Sunday 1 October, is usually attended by the party leader and chairman. It consists of association chairs, local officers and youth and women’s representatives. Worth reading Mark Wallace today for a taste of what they can expect to hear. Winning Prime Ministers have previously attended post-election reviews, will Theresa May?
Labour MPs are shunning their party’s conference in Liverpool this weekend after deciding there is not much point in being there. Guido has spoken to some Labour MPs who aren’t even bothering to make the trip at all, and several more who only plan to show their face for a day. It is a four day event – five if you include Jezza’s victory celebrations – and unsurprisingly they don’t want to spend that long with a bunch of nutters who want to deselect them. Fringe event organisers have been ringing round MPs’ offices asking for speakers, but are being told MPs are not available. Can you blame them?
Crunch talks to solve Labour’s conference security crisis have broken down, leaving the party with six weeks to sort it out or risk the whole thing being cancelled. The Guardian reports talks between GMB and union-busting firm Showsec ended in impasse, the GMB have gone straight to Labour’s NEC with demands to block Showsec and talk to other security providers (including G4S, who Labour are boycotting).
“There is no right to representation, no right to collective bargaining, no right to negotiate pay, anything at all like that. There has not been any real relationship at all, and they don’t recognise any other trade union.”
Labour’s conference is just six weeks away on 25 September, it risks cancellation if they don’t find a provider in time. Momentum are holding a rival conference next door, they could always enlist their support to keep order…