Bridgwater Labour Responds to Starmer Conference Speech

Keir Starmer in his speech at the Labour conference, has set out the Labour Party plan to serve working people. Mayor of Bridgwater Cllr Mick Lerry (Labour Victoria) welcomed the speech saying “As far as Keir is concerned it is country first not like the Tories who are Party first and country second. Keir’s speech had a sober message at times as to what the next Labour Government could inherit, from 13 years of broken promises, decline and low economic growth. Labour will have to face the challenges and make sure that they will  turn back the time of decline and that there will be a renewal and rebuilding of the nation. Keir said Labour will speed ahead with net zero, with Great British Energy, new jobs new investment and Technical Colleges to support the new career opportunities. Britain becoming self-sufficient in clean energy, supported by a National Wealth Fund. Private and Public working together for the interests of the country. Trade Union rights restored to create a climate of good employee relations that will benefit working people and businesses.”


Mick Lerry “I welcome Keir Starmer’s approach”

Mick continued “A strong focus will begin immediately to reduce NHS waiting lists and public health with a tax on non-dom status. A VAT tax on private schools to support state education. The rebuilding of the economy will lead to higher growth, better schools, safer streets, help with the cost of living and an improved National Health Service. The next Labour Government will be reaching out to Local Government to assist with the rebuilding programme, to build more houses that are needed for peoples’ living standards to improve. As Mayor I welcome Keir Starmer’s approach to end the Tories sticking plaster politics and the long-term approach to national renewal for the people of Bridgwater and surrounding area.”


Cllr Jacqui Solomon- at the Liverpool Conference

Bridgwater’s delegate to the conference was Cllr Jacqui Solomon (Labour, Eastover). She said “I can only add that Keir was also incredibly calm and composed after the glitter protest. His message was much more passionate than normal and when added to the amazing speeches from Angela Rayner, Rachel Reeves and Yvette Cooper this has been a fantastic and very positive conference. I am proud to say that the key issue of violence against women was debated in depth and unanimously carried with targets set to reduce cases by 50% with measures including dedicated “rape courts” and domestic violence experts taking 999 calls.”


Cllr Brian Smedley ‘putting Labour in its historic context’

Leader of Bridgwater’s Labour Town Council Brian Smedley (Labour, Westover) said “Keir Starmer has now laid out his vision of a contract between politicians and people as the way forward. Surrounded by flags he said we need to  ‘Build a new Britain’ and he said ‘We are the builders’. He needs to get into power to even start this process, and that’s what this conference was all about. Proving that Labour is ready for this challenge. He’s promising’ Stability’, he’s saying our purpose in politics is to ‘Shoulder the burden for working people’. He’s right. It is. That’s why we have a Labour Party in the first place.. Crucially he pointed out that ‘People cry out for change’. They do. Even Rishi Sunak is….although he doesn’t seem to have realised that this change means getting rid of him! The detail though is how we do this. And Starmer, probably realistically, says ‘We cant be about the easy answers’ -well, sometimes they might be the best ones. But let’s assume they aren’t. What is true though was captured in his phrase  ‘Long term solutions aren’t oven ready’. This was a reference to the sloganeering of Boris Johnson and co who ruled by duping people with easy answers summed up in easy slogans.”


Cllr Solomon discusses Tory policy with Suella Braverman

Smedley continued “What is very important is the historic context which Starmer highlighted. Labour hasn’t been in Government that much since it was founded in 1900, but when it was it was at crucial moments in history. 1945, when the world needed a new start after world war 2, then in 1964 when  Britain needed a technological revolution to encapsulate the progressive years of the 1960s, and most recently in 1997 when Britain had been devastated by the destruction of community and the rolling back of socialist gains by Margaret Thatcher . So Keir Starmer spoke of 45, 64 97 and said the next Labour Government now has to be all three. That’s right. It does. Britain really does need a rethink, but, the solutions are there – in the historic approach of the Labour Party. He talked of  a decade of national renewal, he was high on inspiration , maybe  low on policy detail, maybe on purpose, but crucially he knows the NHS is so historically identified with Labour that he rightly focused on that.  More operations , more appointments, clearing the backlog, working 7 days a week to do this.”


Inspiring support from Angela Rayner

Cllr Smedley concluded “And the other historic point of the Labour party is providing housing for working people -so he focused on House building and home ownership, saying we should  ‘Get Britain building again’  and importantly that we would ‘Need to get tough with developers.’ And this means …Planning reform to get more houses built. This  is long overdue. Early Labour governments built 400,000 homes a year and crucially half of these were council houses. This needs to happen again. And finally he rightly focused on Climate change saying  ‘clean energy means cheaper bills’., although he also said ‘Clean British air for good British jobs’. I’m not sure that drawing borders in the clouds works for anyone…But he rightly attacked Sunaks abandonment of climate goals. And this is the most crucial thing for all our futures, that underpins everything. We do need an actual world to implement these policies in….”


Cllr Leigh Redman speaking from Labour Conference

County Labour Leader Leigh Redman (Bridgwater North & Central) was also at conference. He said “ At last building the right sort of houses, in the right places, for those that need them most.
I was really pleased to hear from our deputy leader, Angela Rayner, about the new deal for workers. I really do hope that the small print reflects the intent, because it is onlyLabour that can make work pay. The last Labour government introduced the minimum wage, only to see how over the last 13 years this government has etched into it, squeezing it at every opportunity, to hear that we will introduce a genuine living wage that working people can actually live on. How we will change the Low Pay Commission’s remit so that the minimum wage will for the first time take account of the cost of living. To hear how the next Labour government:-Will ban zero-hour contracts. Will End fire and rehire. Will give workers basic rights from day one. Will
go further and faster in closing the gender pay gap. Will make work more family friendly. And Will tackle sexual harassment. And a new Labour government won’t stop there:- They will ensure that unions can stand up for their members. They will boost collective bargaining, to improve workers’ pay, terms and conditions. To hear how this will be done hand in hand with the trade union movement is right, Labour will work with business too. Because good business knows, a good modern labour market is good for growth. Labour’s New Deal for Working People is a plan to boost wages, make work more secure and support working people to thrive.”

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