Keir Starmer gave his first speech as Leader of the Opposition on Tuesday, to bring the events of Labour Connected to a close.
Keir outlined his bold new vision for our Party, which under his leadership will seek to win back the swathes of people who felt left behind by us. Our priorities will be national security, and protecting our country from further economic and social damage from Covid-19.
It was a confident, positive and powerful address, including commitments to properly fund public services, invest in creating high quality jobs, prioritise our planet, and work towards eradicating racial injustice.
My favourite line from his speech was this:
“My vision for Britain is simple. I want it to be the best country to grow up in and the best to grow old in.”
We were not able to host an in-person conference this year, but Labour’s online events provided a space for us to join rallies, watch panel discussions, and hear inspiring speeches from some amazing figures.
Deputy Leader Angela Rayner opened proceedings with a phenomenal address, drawing particular attention to the hard work of our social care workers. They deserve to earn a living wage – and Labour are determined to deliver it. You can watch her speech here.
Saturday was Women Connected – a day dedicated to discussions around women.
I was delighted to take part in some events myself, in my role as Shadow Minister for Faith, Women and Equalities – as well as your local MP. I enjoyed an informative discussion on how far we have come since the introduction of the Equality Act in 2010 (never far enough!), chaired by Marsha De Cordova.
Later in the day I was part of a panel organised by Fabian Women, discussing what it’s like being a mum in politics. The Labour Party have achieved some considerable wins when it comes to making Parliament more welcoming to mothers, but there are still some basic things that need changing. Myself and my fellow Labour women MPs are committed to carrying on fighting this cause! You can watch the full event here.
I also enjoyed helping the Training Team lead webinars on engaging with the community. Over the past couple of years we have led several successful campaigns in Lewisham East and making changes for individual, families and our community is what drives me as an MP. I would encourage anyone interested to take part in future training events organised by the fantastic team – you can find out more here.
The latest step for legislating on Brexit happened last week, when the Government pushed through the Internal Markets Bill. This is a bill that would, under their own admission, break international law. By overriding the Northern Ireland Protocol, this bill would destroy the credibility of our nation in the world’s eyes.
The clauses in this bill would mean imposing a border down the Irish sea, creating a division between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. This goes against strong promises made by the Government earlier in the Brexit process, and also undermines the Good Friday Agreement.
MPs from across Parliament have spoken out against this bill, including myself and my Labour colleagues. Ed Miliband, Shadow Secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, gave a tenacious speech holding the Government to account on their reckless choices – you can read that here.
The scale of the Conservative majority means the Internal Market Bill passed its first round. However, this was just the first stage of many in Parliament. I will keep you informed on the progress of this bill, which we are determined to amend; the international reputation of our country is at stake.