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Harry West

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  1. Henry Jr. (known as Harry) was born in 1973 to Henry and Katherine West in Coventry. He comes from a staunchly socialist family, dating from his grandfather - a committed communist who fought in the international brigade and met his future wife (Harry's Grandmother) while in Spain. Harry's grandfather was a committed communist until the late 1950s when he joined the Labour Party. His father had a varied career in locsl government, union politics, the BBC, and later a Labour councilor and MP for Coventry South (elected in 1983). His parliamentary career was relatively unremarkable: briefly serving in a Shadow frontbench team but disliking the impact on his family life and returning to the backbenches. He left Parliament in 2001. Harry studied Economic History at university and wad the president of the Labour club. His politics diverged from the more left wing inclinations of his parents and grandfather and he worked for Blair's Opposition team and first government. Uncomfortable with new Labour, he moved to the TUC in 2002 and worked on the "Warwick agreement" in 2004 that secured union funding for Labour's reelection campaign in return for promises on employment rights and public sector expenditure. He returned to SpAd life in 2007 briefly in Number 10, but quickly decided he wanted to enter politics more directly. He won selection for his father's old seat of Coventry South in 2010 and was elected. His selection was controversial having not lived in the seat for years, but his local connections and fathers enduring popularity saw him through. While on the party's broad left, he supported David Miliband in 2010 as the most electable candidate and his vision of a community based Labour party. He was promoted to rhe Shadow cabinet in 2014, a position he kept despite not supporting Corbyn's election campaign. Ideologically, Harry is not instinctively opposed to Corbyn's domestic agenda: while to Corbyn's right, Harry is at home supporting public ownership and was deeply uncomfortable with new Labour's timidity on tax and welfare; and its lukewarm Opposition to welfare cuts in 2015. His real difficulties came on foreign policy: he was among the Labour frontbenchers defying Corbyn to support military action against ISIS, and is known to have been frustrated at Miliband's refusal to intervene in Syria. While considering Owen Smith a "shit" candidate, he thought removing Corbyn was essential for a Labour Party capable of leading the country and has privately expressed deep concerns about Corbyn's foreign policy inclinations.
  2. Harry West

    Harry West

    Name: Harry West Avatar: Oscar Isaac Age: 43 Sex: M Ethnicity: British (1/4 Spanish via grandparent) Marital Status: Married Sexual Orientation: Gay (out) Party: Labour Faction/Subgroup: Tribune, Labourite Political Outlook: Remainer but has opposed moves to a second referendum. Supported David Miliband in 2010, Yvette Cooper in 2015, and Owen Smith in 2016 (reluctantly) after disagreements with Corbyn's foreign policy. Constituency: Coventry South Year Elected: 2010 Education: Attended university - Economic History Career: Worked as Political adviser to in Labour HQ in the mid 90s after university and a junior SpAd in Tony Blair's first term. Worked for the TUC and instrumental in the development of the "Warwick agreement" between Labour and the unions ahead of the 2005 election. Worked briefly for Brown's government in 2007. Political Career: from a long running Labour family. Elected for Coventry South in 2010. On the Shadow Treasury bench from 2012 to 2014, and became Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in 2014. Resigned along with Hillary Benn in 2016 after the EU referendum.
  3. The Leader of the Opposition responded to the Prime Minister's love television broadcast: Good evening. What we heard tonight from the Prime Minister was an admission of defeat, paired with a complete inability to take any responsibility or put forward any real solutions to the crisis that we face. What we also heard was extreme fear mongering. That there isn't enough food, or electricity, or water. Before I say anything more, I have to tell you that those statements are simply not true. The Prime Minister, in what can only be an extreme effort to deflect any blame or responsibility, is simply not telling you the truth. There is plenty of food, plenty of water, plenty of electricity. Every sensible industry voice says so. I urge everyone to remain calm, use your common sense, and see through this. What we are seeing in Britain today is not just the sharp edge of an energy crisis, and certainly not a lack of food or water. The former is a symptom, not a cause. What we are seeing is the failure of this Government's twelve years of economic mismanagement. How can it be that in twelve years, Britain has gone from the richest country in Western Europe to millions of us relying on foodbanks? To our Prime Minister on national TV appealing to charity, or to only turn the heating to 19 degrees? To British workers forced to strike or to beg simply to maintain their standard of living. This isn't happening anywhere else. This is a uniquely British disease. Solving the cost of living crisis isn't going to be a matter of some grand blitz spirit where we all have to spend the winter cold, hungry, and frightened. And for what it's worth, let's be honest with one another: it won't be Mike Marshall cold, hungry or frightened. It wont be his wealthy donors who pay thousands for access to Tory ministers, or the CEOs of energy companies taking record bonuses. It will be ordinary families trying to feed their kids, pensioners who need to heat their homes, young people barely scraping by in their first job. No. The solution isnt more pain for you. The solution is real, practical action that supports families get through this tough time and prevents major falls in living standards. And reform that ends this broken Tory economic model. The wealth and the money exists. Energy companies are making record profits. That's why Labour has proposed using those profits to stop major energy price rises, rather than just letting them happen. Thats why we have proposed ending the Government's billions in tax breaks for oil investment and giving that help to families that need it right now. That is why we have proposed getting rid of VAT on domestic fuel. That is why we have consistently proposed mass insulation investment to cut all of our energy bills by hundreds of pounds. That is why we have proposed an immediate increase in the minimum wage, an end to public sector pay restraint for the lowest paid nurses and teachers and police officers, and giving you more powers at work to protect your wages and living standards. And yes, we need long term energy solutions: investment in renewables, nuclear, and low carbon heating. Being in Government is about making the tough calls. Mike Marshall tonight decided that he didn't want to make any: he told you to make them instead. My message to the Prime Minister is this: ditch the war time rallying cries. Protect your people not your pride. And give us real solutions, don't spread fear and feign helplessness. And my message to you is this: it doesn't have to be this way. Britain in the sixth largest economy on earth. We have huge wealth, natural resources, and we have strong communities that look out for one another. We can harness those to solve this cost of living crisis. Write to your MPs. Go to their surgeries. Support and join your trade union. Demand action and demand better. But more than anything else: look after each other. Thank you.
  4. Mr Speaker, One of the Prime Minister’s colleagues recently described his approach to this crisis “disjointed”. Another said that after it all went wrong, he went “cap-in-hand”. Of course, the Prime Minister takes a different view: defying reality and even his own colleagues, he considers this a “great victory”. In his statement, he tells us that “the CCP blinked” and that “we as a nation cannot compromise”. But he knows the truth, and the British people know it too. He blinked, and he compromised. And he can’t bear to say so because he would have to admit that he was too unprepared, too unwilling to talk to experts, and too inexperienced to talk to our allies. Not wrong, Mr Speaker, to say that we as a country should reduce our dependence on the Chinese economy and on the whims of the Chinese Government. I share fully his disdain for the regime. But what he has done will make the problem worse, not better; and exacerbate many other challenges our country faces. The Prime Minister has been forced to back down on one of his first key announcements on the Confucius Institutes. I say back down. This one has been a little like the hokey cokey - we’ve been in, out, we’ve shaken it all about, and we’ve ended up right back where we started. In the meantime, the Government lost a Chancellor and his Government lost all credibility on the issue. He has been forced also into a major concession on trade in dual-use goods, permitting their trade after all. Two thirds of his first grand statement on China consigned to the bin. The Government claims that they won’t be used for military use - but that was already part of the export regime, and the Prime Minister’s own statements make it clear he has no faith in the honesty or integrity of the Chinese regime to keep promises such as that. But not only has he now permitted that trade, it turns out that now British taxpayers will be subsidising British trade with China. The Government seems to be pretending this is some great win, or some kind of benevolent announcement. If it were in the British national interest, why would the Chinese Communist Party be so keen on a relatively minor tax policy in the global scheme of things being implemented by the British Government? Because it makes the British economy more entangled, more dependent on the Chinese economy. There is an alternative: a real industrial strategy that builds investment and economic security in Britain, as proposed by the Labour Party and as initially championed, albeit unsuccessfully by the former Prime Minister, the member for Maidenhead. And there is an even more sinister element to this. This British Prime Minister has handed over control of British tax policy to an agreement with the Chinese Communist Party. No, Mr Speaker, this is not the same as some trade deal and not the same as the EU. What a preposterous, offensive comparison to - as he puts it - the evil regime in China. This tax break exists because the CCP wants it, and can’t be removed unless the CCP agrees. That’s all there is to it. And what of the elements that do survive, Mr Speaker. Well, he has still left this country, and its people, with a dogs dinner. Because Mr Speaker, he still has no plan. Yes, two elements of his original proposal have survived - the divestment from Hinkley Point C and other nuclear infrastructure and the action on Huawei. But they are also the two for which the Government has still provided no plan and no path forward. There is no plan to deal with the loss of Chinese investment in Hinkley Point - it is widely known that CGN brings unique expertise to the project that can’t be replicated by the other investors at this time. This potentially sets back that low carbon energy by years, but at this rate, without a plan, we have no idea by how long and how we meet our energy needs in the meantime. There is no plan to replace the more than 50,000 jobs and £1 billion in tax revenue that Huawei supports. The Prime Minister says the cost is worth it. Rather than meaningless statements like that, he should front those costs with the British people and set out how the Government will respond. Of course, Mr Speaker, we should all recognise that we wouldn’t be in this situation at all had previous Conservative Prime Ministers had a plan and invested in British nuclear technology or in a British industrial strategy. Labour ultimately supports these outcomes, and would not have allowed it to get to this position in the first place, but the fact that there is no alternative and no indication that the Government is even thinking about how to respond - frankly, Mr Speaker, it’s astounding. And an indication of the incompetence displayed throughout this whole process. Mr Speaker, The Prime Minister’s statement provided almost nothing on detail and even less on humility about, accountability for, or learnings from this debacle. Instead, the Prime Minister chose to use his time before this House to make grandiose statements that he can’t back up with action; and political attacks on the official opposition that would seem more appropriate in the US Congress than the House of Commons. Those of us criticising the Prime Minister, and holding him to account for his failures throughout this crisis, are standing up for the very values he claims he is defending. Democracy. The Prime Minister is not above questions about his conduct or his competence. And if he really were so confident in both of those, then he would do the decent and sensible thing, and agree to Labour’s proposals for an independent inquiry - so the country can put this whole sorry business behind it for good.
  5. Mr Speaker The honourable member for Hove has already given an excellent summary of our opposition to this statement. The Prime Minister announced in his statement that he would issue more credits under the Emissions Trading Scheme. The reality of this policy is that he is handing out more licenses to pollute. A significant amount of that does not go on energy - it goes on big industry or aviation - which will have almost no impact on most struggling families. Why did the Prime Minister not, as Labour has suggested, introduce a "Green Dividend" worth on average over £200 per family - which would ensure that the UK continued to meet its carbon budgets while returning the proceeds of the ETS to hardworking families and to the economy? Does he have any comment on what impact that the ETS changes will have on the UK's ability to meet its carbon budget?
  6. The Leader of the Opposition, Arya West, this morning made a statement from Labour Party HQ on yesterday's events in Westminster, and the path forward. Thank you all for coming this morning. Yesterday was a dramatic day in Westminster. Amid all the urgent questions, so-called emergency press releases, government resignations; it’s very easy to lose sight of what politicians are arguing about, and what that means for what should happen next. I want to emphasise something right off the bat. William Croft and I agree that China represents a serious threat to Britain’s national security; and economic reliance on China - indeed any country - makes Britain’s economy less secure and British workers more vulnerable to - well, to events such as these. I set this out to the Prime Minister when he announced his initial measures, and have long been sceptical of the last 12 years of Conservative Prime Ministers opening the open door to Chinese investment in our economy and critical infrastructure. But the Prime Minister made three serious errors of judgement in how he executed this, such that he left our country isolated, unprepared, and weak on the international stage. Those three errors were: Lack of preparation: the Government had no plan for replacing the investment or jobs in our economy or infrastructure; and no plan in the event of Chinese retaliation. That left hundreds of thousands of families on the front line of a potential trade war with no support from the Prime Minister. Making no international outreach: William Croft didn’t speak to a single British ally, or to the Chinese Government, to gauge international reaction to - or attempt to build support for - Britain’s unilateral actions. That meant that Britain, rather than leading the world, was simply left isolated and weaker for it. Not consulting or acting on the advice of his national security or intelligence advisers: a mistake that has cost him the resignation of two of his top officials, including the Director General of MI5. Both the security and intelligence services could have provided valuable insight on China’s likely reaction, or the issues to focus on - but William Croft wasn’t interested. Those failures led Britain into a disastrous trade war. And it crucially left it without a good hand to play in any negotiations, isolated in the world. It is not unpatriotic or parroting the lines of the Chinese Communist Party to point that out; nor does it stop us condemning the way in which China escalated tensions and sanctions. It is simply holding William Croft and his Government accountable. Don’t take my word for it - the former Chancellor euphemistically called the approach “disjointed”. I do not care for such political euphemisms. The Prime Minister was naive to think there would be no retaliation, incompetent to not prepare, or arrogant in his belief only he knew best. Or perhaps he was all three. We have given him the benefit of the doubt, all of us. He has thrown that trust in the face of every British job he put on the line as a result of his cowboy diplomacy. So where are we now? William Croft to great fanfare announced a deal - and immediately it transpired that in his rush to solve a political problem, he had announced something that he hadn’t read. And even the bits that he had read were bad enough, including allowing the Chinese Communist Party to make British tax policy and increasing our economic dependence on China - a key shared objective of both parties not only failed but going backwards. The deal takes us backwards, not forward. William Croft called it “a great victory”, seemingly claiming that this had been his grand vision and plan all along. Even putting aside that ridiculous spin, throwing hundreds of thousands of jobs on a gamble - or suggesting that you would be willing to - really says it all. Of course, the announcement that this “great victory” would need to be renegotiated means that we are thrown right back into the uncertainty we started with. So what next? What is 100% clear is that William Croft is not the right man to lead these negotiations. He has shown himself to be a diplomatic liability. He does not listen to expert advice, has not shown that he has learned anything from this saga, and seems more interested in tough-guy press releases than real action and solutions. So in the immediate term, William Croft must hand over operational control of any renegotiation to the experts in the diplomatic service, before he does more damage, and set out his objectives and intentions clearly to Parliament. But the broader question here is whether the Prime Minister and this Government can learn from this debacle. We face grave economic and international challenges. If the Government is to respond to those challenges without further chaos, then it needs to learn. Or it needs to change. That is why Labour is calling for a full inquiry into the circumstances leading up to the Prime Minister’s initial announcements, the escalating trade tensions, and the Government’s response at the time; with the purpose of learning lessons for the conduct of delicate diplomatic affairs and for the response to diplomatic crises. If the Prime Minister is not willing to convene such an inquiry and commit to learning the lessons now and during that process, then my simple message is this: he must go. I do not expect him to heed that suggestion. I do not think that he understands the gravity of the crisis that Britain faced, and his role in instigating it. His actions in the press yesterday, in which he called the Labour Party “useful idiots of the CCP” for asking very reasonable questions, do not show a Prime Minister taking any responsibility or learn any lessons. But my hope is that his colleagues and friends may encourage him to do the right thing. Thank you very much.
  7. Mr Speaker I may have missed it among the length of the Chancellor's very political and largely unnecessary statement. But has he published this deal struck with the Chinese Government, and if not, why not?
  8. Mr Speaker, I thank the Prime Minister for his first statement to the House. I wonder if he might be hoping to find disagreement on this side of the House to the broad direction he is plotting. I do not, in fact, disagree that the world must hold the Chinese Communist Party to account for its constant and flagrant disregard for human rights, democracy, and self-determination around the world. China’s treatment of Uyghurs is despicable; the creeping oppression of Hong Kong disturbing; their routine debt-diplomacy the actions of an 18th century empire not a modern nation-state. But I think we ought to remind ourselves, Mr Speaker, of why we are where we are today. It was only seven years ago that George Osborne stood up on a red stage and declared the Golden Decade. It was only recently that the member for Uxbridge told us that "China is a gigantic part of our economic life and will be for a long time - for our lifetimes" It is this Conservative Government that has allowed the Chinese government easy access to the British economy and to British infrastructure. This Government that - by retreating from its foreign aid pledge earlier this Parliament - retreated further from the nations that then only had China to turn to. And the trouble is, Mr Speaker, that these four prongs, as well-intentioned as they may collectively be, do not add up. There is no plan for implementation. No sense of the alternatives the Government will offer. No strategy for Britain to be a progressive force in the world countering Chinese influence among our allies and in the Commonwealth. Take Hinkley Point, Mr Speaker. How does the Government plan to replace the nearly £9 billion in financing that CGN is providing to the project? Will it be replaced by Government financing, or will it simply go out to a different bidder - knowing full well that they have us in a bind of a bargaining position and charging UK bill payers even more? Perhaps more importantly, we have been repeatedly told that CGN brings vital expertise to the project. If that expertise is lost, how does the Government intend to replace it: and does he now regret that this Conservative Government has repeatedly rejected calls to invest in our domestic nuclear and low-carbon expertise in favour of oursourcing it? Finally on this matter Mr Speaker, what will the Prime Minister do to reassure other investors - particularly those that may need to replace CGN's investment in Hinkley Point C - that his Government will not be in the market for expropriation of their assets? Britain, although perhaps not this Government, is known as a safe bet that keeps its word and plays the bat straight. It is critical we maintain that. Their third action, Mr Speaker, speaks to dual use goods. What is their plan when Chinese authorities inevitably retaliate? British businesses import £67.6bn a year from China. It is all good and well to divest - but there is no alternative plan. George Osborne and the previous Prime Minister rolled out the red carpet to China, and this is the result. China owns £143bn of assets in the UK - including a 49% stake in HSBC - and invests a further £5bn a year. Without an alternate plan, this u-turn means lost jobs, lower investment, and a higher cost of living. The Prime Minister's final proposal is, on paper, a good idea. However, the Prime Minister needs to set out what background checks will be in place, how the integrity of the scheme will be maintained, and what he will do to ensure that those who come here are supported into British society and local communities. Without that, it risks being a policy made on the hoof, rather than the outward looking and fair proposition that it ought to be. Mr Speaker, to sum up: while we may share the Prime Minister's discomfort with growing Chinese influence and their anti-democracy, anti-human rights agenda; we have serious doubts that this Government has the plan or the alternative to take it forward. Over the last twelve years they have rolled out the red carpet to the Chinese Communist Party, inviting them to invest in Britain. They have let investment, jobs, businesses become dependent on Chinese investment and ties to the Chinese economy. I welcome that they have woken up to the fact that was a mistake, and support Britain taking a stronger stand in the world against the anti-democracy, anti-human rights, anti-minority views and actions of this totalitarian regime. But their lack of an alternative plan means that the Tory flirtation with the Chinese Communist Party will end up costing jobs, investment, and infrastructure in this country.
  9. Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for the Union: Dame Arya West Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Deputy Prime Minister: Lincoln Huizenga Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer: Jim Riley Includes: Treasury Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs: Simon Bleyer Includes: Foreign Office, International Development, Defence Shadow Home Secretary: Ashton Edwards Includes: Home Office, Ministry of Justice Shadow Secretary of State for Leveling Up: Lisa Nandy [NPC - Arya West] Includes: Leveling up, communities, local government, housing Shadow Secretary of State for Public Services: Natalie Clarke Includes: Health, Education (inc. Higher Education) Shadow Secretary of State for Social Security and Child Poverty Reduction: Marie Martin Shadow Minister for Equalities: Marie Martin Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Employment rights, and Industrial Strategy: Jonathan Reynolds [NPC - Jim Riley] Shadow Secretary of State for Energy, the Environment, and Climate Change: Simon Godwin Shadow Secretary of State for Transport: Lincoln Huizenga Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland: Ian Murray [NPC - Ashton Edwards] Shadow Secretary of State for Wales: Natalie Edwards Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: Griff Rhys Morrison Shadow Minister for Integrity, Ethics, and Political Reform: Anneliese Dodds [NPC - Arya West] Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Griff Rhys Morrison Opposition Chief Whip: Jim Riley Labour Party Chair: Natalie Clarke
  10. Comrades, Friends Thank you so much for the trust that you have placed in me. It is truly humbling to be standing here today. A little scary too, I’m sure you’ll sympathise with me saying. I want to start by paying a huge tribute to Natalie and to Simon. We have had a real contest of ideas, united by our common values and by our mutual respect. There was hardly a cross word, no backhanded briefing, just civility and principled discussion. And I want to pay particular note to the fact that, although we had our principled differences, we have all been united in our firm belief in tackling antisemitism and taking forward the findings of the Forde Report. That fact, across all spectrums of our party, should give all of our members and the country faith that the party is listening, learning lessons, and ensuring that mistakes are not repeated. I also want to congratulate Lincoln for his election to the Deputy Leadership and look forward to working with him; while paying my commiserations to Wes. Just before I got on stage, we found out that William Croft will be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Natalie remarked to me that he may be the first gay Prime Minister of our country, but at least I beat him to the first gay UK party leader by a few minutes. I congratulate Sir William on his election, and want to recognise the very real progress that this marks for the LGBT+ community. I know that these are sometimes unsettling times for the community here and abroad, but I hope this is a reminder that the march of progress, if not always easy or linear, is real and significant. Neither he nor I would be here without the tireless work and effort of activists and political pathfinders over the past few decades. We can all hope that Will Croft will be a fair, principled, and progressive Prime Minister. Sadly, I think we know from his recent statements and the way in which he has conducted his campaign and his recent public exposure that those hopes will be dashed quickly. Here’s just a few things that he has said recently. “I am… preparing to lead a Government that is going to radically cut spending.” “As Prime Minister, I will expand private competition in healthcare.” “I will unleash the power of oil and gas.” “On day one… we will scrap the rise in corporation tax.” None of this needs comment or spin, or interpretation. All of these could have been said in 1979, by another Tory leader. That his extreme views have gone unchallenged by his own party should worry us all. It must also be a rallying cry to us. The only way that we can avoid the economic and social division that these policies herald is by ensuring that Labour is an alternative Government that the people can trust with power at the next General Election. I will not lie: these are going to be a tough couple of years. We have a record number on waiting lists, and a Prime Minister who wants to cut spending and open up our NHS to private competition. Who wants to abandon the net zero target and drill for more oil and gas instead. Who wants to do all of that, very transparently, so that he can afford a tax cut for big business worth nearly £20 billion every single year. He’s shown us his priorities. Now it’s time for us to show the country ours. Tackling the cost of living crisis head on, rather than cutting the services that people rely on. Better wages for working people, rather than tax cuts for big corporations. More equality across our country, not the Tory sham of levelling up - not mentioned once by William Croft. Climate action that makes Britain a world leader and an economic powerhouse, rather than Britain getting left behind by a lack of ambition Rebuilding world class public services, decisively ending the years of Tory austerity with a credible, fair, and progressive future for the services we all rely on. Renewing Britain’s international reputation so that Britain can be a positive, progressive force in the world: keeping our word, backing the international institutions that protect human rights, a steadfast and resolute supporter of Ukraine and all other states standing up for their self-determination and their democracy. And what I say now I want to say to the country. Our country and our lives feel less secure in the world than they did ten years ago; our household budgets don’t stretch as far; and our schools, hospitals, high-streets all seem to have gone backwards. It doesn’t have to be this way. I know that Labour lost your trust. I understand why. All we ask is for the chance to earn it back. Thank you, and let’s get to work!
  11. Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Dame Arya West, today launched her leadership campaign at a meeting of Labour Party members, local and national press, and affiliated members in Darlington. She was introduced by the Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work and Employment Rights, Jim Riley, and joined by the Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves. Before the campaign launch, she met local Labour councilors and joined them campaigning. Friends, comrades, Thank you for coming! It’s been such a great evening meeting members new and old passionate about making our country a better, fairer, greener place to grow up, live, and grow old in. When you compare the energy and the positivity in this room to the relentless negativity and scaremongering that we have on the other side… well, it’s a world of difference. And I think that kind of positivity is exactly what we can take to the country at the next election and deliver a Labour majority. We are all here, I am sure it’s no secret, because I am putting my hat into the ring for the leadership. And today I am launching and making publicly available my leadership platform for all to see. To see the kind of offer I want our party to make to our country at the next election. That platform is a launching pad: it is a summary of what I believe, and what kind of platform I think Labour ought to offer. But I am one person. Even in this one room tonight, there are great ideas and firm passions and real commitments to change. I may be looking to be leader, but I am also looking to all of you, and all my fellow party members, MPs, mayors, councillors, and affiliated members for inspiration, for support, for action. My offer to the Labour Party, and to our country, is this. Experience. Integrity. Vision. I bring experience. I have been an MP for seventeen years, a Minister, a Shadow Minister. I have most of all served the people of my constituency. I like to think that over those seventeen years I have learned a bit about how to work in government and get things done in Westminster. And before that, my road to politics may have been a little unorthodox. It was my experience in schools and with children growing up in Tory Britain. Prefab classrooms so cold in the winter that everyone needed a coat - or those that could afford a warm one, anyway. Children I met who were too hungry to learn. Teachers doing everything they could to give kids the best start in life but hamstrung by that gross inequity and a system that didn’t seem to care. My route to politics was because I couldn’t stand by and watch that happen. I needed to do something. So I used my networks, what influence I could muster, and I worked with a fantastic team of people to get the last Labour government to commit to eliminating child poverty by 2020. And I wish that the story could have that happy ending. But it’s now 2022. And despite a decade of progress, we can all see the same pattern repeating. Kids growing up in homes their parents can’t afford to heat because of the cost of living crisis. Parents making the biggest sacrifices they can so that their sons and daughters don’t go to school hungry. More than two million of them, every single year, being forced to use foodbanks because our economy and our society - one of the wealthiest in the world - has let them down. Our country feels divided and our society bruised in a way that I haven’t felt in a generation - by class, by region or area, by people and areas with opportunity and those left behind. We’ve got to do better than that. But unfortunately, this Government can’t. Because it is so plagued by two obsessions. First, with austerity - the leading candidate to be Prime Minister promising “radical” cuts, after his party won its majority promising levelling up and investment in services. And second, with the trappings and the sleaze of unrestrained power. So that is my second offer to the party and the country: integrity. There will be no illegal parties in No10, no lucrative PPE deals for my mates, no tolerance for scandal or for sleaze. And where we must get our own house in order, I will be a fearless advocate for those that we have let down, and I thank Martin Forde for his report and urge everyone to reflect on its findings and recommendations. And I will not shy away from taking out the broom and cleaning out the rot that has set in at the heart of Westminster. Which is why I will commit to an independent Ethics and Integrity commission that will hold Ministers - including the Prime MInister - accountable for breaches of the rules and of the standards the public expect of us. I will ban the revolving door from Minister to lobbyist. I will introduce new rules on Ministerial involvement in public procurement. And the last thing that I offer is a vision. I have been in this game now long enough to know that there isn’t a politician on our side of the aisle that isn’t here because we want to right some wrongs in our country and our society. I am unashamedly Labour, and I have told you where that stand comes from. Many of you will have already heard me talk at conference about our need to combine a credible economic platform that improves peoples lives today with a positive vision for a fairer future. First, we need to hold this Government to account on the Cost of Living Crisis. Yes, there are international pressures. But there is no excuse - none - for the fact that so many of our people are so vulnerable to these events beyond their control. Government can and must take action to protect people - all of them doing the right thing, trying to get by and support their families. I will push the Government to increase and index the minimum wage, strengthen the energy price cap that lets energy companies continue to make bumper profits, eliminate VAT on domestic fuel, and end its unfair cut to universal credit. Second, we need to set out a positive vision for a stronger, fairer, and greener economy that makes peoples’ lives and livelihoods more secure. We cannot have a repeat of the Tory decade of stagnation that has led to this cost of living crisis. Even before the cost of living crisis the average British family was still poorer than they were in 2007 when they had the highest income in Western Europe. Now we’re nearly 20% behind Germany. This is a uniquely British disease, a uniquely Tory failure, and we need to fix it. I want to bring industry, small business, unions, scientists around the table to set a clear modern and green industrial strategy - one that gives business confidence to invest, people a chance to upskill, and unions and opportunity to bid for fair wages. And that needs to come with a renewed commitment to fairness in our economy: a new Child Poverty Act, and a Royal Commission on Social Security that can identify an enduring, fair replacement for the failed and broken Universal Credit regime. Third, we need to call out the levelling up agenda for the sham that it is and promise a new approach to regional equality. The Tory policy has been to make councils beg - beg! - Michael Gove for money to replace the billions the government cut from their budgets. The money has gone disproportionately to marginal tory seats. We need a completely new approach. I will set out an English Devolution Deal that puts power, money, and control in the hands of local leaders who can truly level up our country. We will build on Lisa Nandy’s fantastic work and give councils new powers to level up their communities. We will get a million new homes for rent or affordable purchase built - no ifs, no buts, no delays. Fourth, we need to regain our ambition for world class public services. When we left government, nearly no one waiting more than 18 weeks for surgery. That pledge was so central that it’s in the NHS constitution. Now, there are more than two million people who have waited more than 18 weeks. Our courts are backed up so far that some victims are waiting years for their case to be heard. We can and must do better. The answer to this is surely not Will Croft’s plan to hand tens of billions to big and rich corporations. Nor is it the privatisation they don’t even just hint at any more. It’s public service, public ethos, well-spent investments - not PPE deals for Matt Hancock’s mates. Finally, Labour needs to help Britain rediscover its proud patriotic place in the world as a progressive beacon. Rather than sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, we should be standing up for human rights around the world. We must support and be a leader in the international action to sanction Russia and support Ukraine’s fight for self-determination and democracy - and prepare ourselves and our NATO allies to grit our teeth and stick at it for the long haul. And we must be ready to pick up the pieces of this government’s broken and jingoistic attitude to our European friends and neighbours - to re-engage in good faith to fix the problems with the deal that Boris Johnson signed, and get out there to sign more free and fair trade deals with our friends and neighbours on this planet. The road to Government is never easy. It is paved with setbacks, disappointments, frustrations, emotions. These twelve years have been hard for our country, hard for those of us who believe in Labour’s vision and in the great potential of our country and its people. My closing message to you is this: Labour can win again. Britain can be the fairer, freer, secure country that we all believe in. And I believe I have the experience, the integrity, and the vision to take us there. Thank you very much, and good night! Go West plays as Arya walks down to the crowd to talk to members.
  12. Mr Speaker, This Budget was an opportunity to reset out economy after the pandemic. To take a look at the gross inequities in our economy - the rising poverty, the millions using foodbanks, the average family just trying to get by and finding it harder year after year - and fix it. History will judge that the Chancellor has sorely failed. They will instead remember his hubris and his arrogance. The hubris in believing that he can sneak record tax rises past the British public. The arrogance in believing that he can do that while handing out tens of billions in dodgy contracts and not adding a penny to the tax bill of the richest while he expects minimum wage earners to cough up more and more. There is no greater example of this, Mr Speaker, than the Chancellor's bait-and-switch with Universal Credit. Naturally, I welcome the fact that he has cut the taper rate - a tax rate on low income earners that is far higher than any faced by the richest in this country. But his giveaway is dwarfed by the £1,000 a year he just took away from Universal Credit claimants, including those on the lowest incomes or out of work. He has taken away £6 billion from people in desperate need and now wants applause and acclaim for deigning to hand some back. He will get no acclaim from this side of the House or the country, Mr Speaker. We can see through his smoke and his mirrors. Here's the fact - 75% of claimants will still be worse off because of the decisions that he has made. In many ways, Mr Speaker, this Chancellor seems to be playing the hokey-cokey with the economy. It's one foot in - cut Universal Credit. One foot out - cut the taper rate. One foot in - cut foreign aid. One foot out - increase it after immense pressure from this House. One foot in - raise taxes to their record level. One foot out - claim you're a low tax Chancellor and hint at future tax cuts. He's turning all around but we've no idea what it's all about. This is serious, Mr Speaker, because none of us in this country have any idea what direction this Chancellor is taking the economy. It is undermining anyone interested in investing in our country, causing uncertainty for ordinary families, and giving us all the all too true impression that the Chancellor's decisions are driven by political necessity from No10 rather than what our country needs. The Chancellor's hubris disguises how dire the Office for Budget Responsibility judges the outlook for the economy to be. The members opposite - I can hear them jeering already - don't want to know the truth. The probably won't believe me. So I want to quote from the independent Institute of Fiscal Studies. Their assessment is blunt. "A middle earner is likely to be worse off next year than this... This of course comes on top of a decade of historically feeble increases in real incomes. The gap between what we might have expected on the basis of pre financial crisis trends and what is actually happening is staggering. Average gross earnings could have been some 40% higher had pre crisis trends continued." 40% Mr Speaker. That is the price of the austerity of this Government, and the hubris of this Chancellor. £13,000 for every single hosuehold in the country. A decade and more squandered. An economy limping along, and the ordinary and low income families of this country paying the price - because the city investors and wealthy elite surely aren't. While average incomes have stagnated, wealth has grow by a staggering £4.6 trillion. A pale fraction of that wealth could have been a pay rise for every family in Britain. It could have eliminated the need for foodbanks. It is a choice that this Government has made that it has not. The Government will claim that it's all down to the last Labour Government, or the pandemic. But incomes have not stagnated in Germany. Or in France. Or even in Italy. Britain is once again earning the title of the sick man of Europe. Not because our economy isn't growing, although it is growing much more slowly than it ought to. But all growth seems to be going to the wealthy and not to the working families trying to get by. What possible justification can the Chancellor give for an extra £5 trillion of wealth swimming around the top of our economy while millions are using foodbanks? The Government's tax rises in the last year are a wonderful insight into this fact. Looking at the economy and where the money and wealth is accumulating, the Chancellor has chosen instead to raise taxes on average and low income earners. Take the health and social care levy. A family with two minimum wage earners will pay an extra £250 next year. A family with two average earners over £500 more. A pensioner having to pick up 25 hours a week to supplement his state pension will pay more than £100. But what will the investor selling his shares or flipping his properties pay, Mr Speaker? Nothing. But what will the landlord with five properties pay, Mr Speaker? Nothing. But what will the pensioner who doesn't need to work to supplement his pension pay, Mr Speaker? Nothing. What kind of Chancellor would look at this and say it was fair? Only one blinded by the arrogance to believe that this inequity would go unchallenged, unnoticed. In short, Madam Deputy Speaker, this Budget puts on full display the hubris and arrogance of this Government and this Chancellor. he has cut Universal Credit, he hasn't increased it. He is presiding over a historic stagnation in living standards, not heralding a golden age. He is increasing taxes on ordinary working families, not cutting them. And the worst thing about it, Mr Speaker? He isn't telling the British public the truth. He's hiding the substance behind the spin. I think it is very clear that sooner rather than later, when their pay packets fall and their taxes go up, the public will see through it.
  13. IPPR, “Prosperity and justice: transforming the British economy” Thank you very much to the IPPR for hosting this event. It’s the fourth but no means least of the events I have had the privilege of speaking to. It does rather feel like we’ve all been running around the conference centre to make all of them, doesn’t it! I spoke at a Progress event earlier at Conference. There, I made a few points about our economic agenda to take the chance to expand on here. I think Labour is at its best and at its most impactful when it is capable of combining practical, near-term policies that support the living standards and security of our people and communities with a long-term vision for a stronger, fairer, and more equitable economy. I happen to think that Labour went to the 2019 election with a lot to say on where we want our economy to move in the long term. I know that many people didn’t agree with all of it, and it is a fair criticism that it was not sufficiently coherent to be called a vision. But I think that for many of the people who we represent, they didn’t have a clear sense of what Labour would do to support them through tough times now, and indeed there was a sense that many of our proposals felt as if - although necessary and helpful in the long term, such as climate transition - could mean short term pain. The case that Labour needs to make, then, is a clear agenda to credibly manage the economy now, support living standards, while providing a bold and inclusive agenda for the future. The Tories beat Labour last time not because they had a better economic vision, but because frankly they managed to beat us on the first two.Those topics may be boring. They may not energise our base. But sometimes, they are the most important factors that swing an election. How does Labour demonstrate credibility on the economy, while setting out an offer on living standards? First, I think we need to show restraint in expensive and questionable promises such as wholesale and immediate nationalisation unless we can demonstrate why they improve lives and livelihoods. We can commit to longer term economic transformation and evaluate the role of public ownership there, but people rightly have concern about their money being bet on a quick shopping list of asset purchases. Second, we need an offer on tax that looks fair and credible. At the very least we should commit to no tax rises for working people beyond the Government’s proposed health levy. I am attracted to proposals for a “tax switch” - raising taxes on wealth, capital, and higher incomes in order to cut them for lower and middle income earners. Finally, wages - where Labour should clearly campaign on proposals to drive wages higher including a higher minimum wage, fair pay agreements bargained between unions and employers in low-paid sectors, higher public sector pay for our key workers, and a radical boost to adult skills and apprenticeships. Even alone, such an offer would demonstrate a clear commitment to credible and fair reforms that make our economy fairer. But I think that it is critical to link that short term ambition to a long-term vision for a high-wage, high-equality, low-emission economy. That should bring together an ambitious agenda on climate change that not only seeks to transform our economy but make Britain a world leader in electric vehicles and the energy solutions of the future. It should cover Angela Rayner’s important work on the future of work. It should set out how we will transform the infrastructure that forms the backbone of our economy. And it should cover - a topic close to my heart - how we will realise our ambition to end child poverty, a target shamefully dropped by this Government while foodbank use has skyrocketed. The key point I want to get across is this: Labour should never stop being ambitious about a fairer economy in the future. Every Labour Government has been elected with a clear vision for our economy. Atlee promised to create the modern mixed economy by creating the welfare state. Wilson promised the white heat of technology and drove scientific innovation - doing more to end Britain’s relative decline than anyone ever cared to give him credit for. Blair and Brown came to office promising to end poverty pay, end child poverty, and end long-term unemployment. All had big visions. All also knew the importance of John Maynard Keynes’ witty retort that in the long-run, we’re all dead; and combined that vision with a clear agenda as competent and credible economic managers. Thank you.
  14. Mr Speaker, This tax rise - a tax rise, Mr Speaker, not his euphemistic "levy" - is the inevitable result of over eleven years of neglect, under-investment, and austerity. The chickens are coming home to roost, Mr Speaker. And the cost is being shoved on struggling hard-working families who have just come out the other end of a pandemic. Don't get me wrong, Mr Speaker. I welcome more NHS and social care spending. But people should have no doubt that it is the result of the decisions that this Government has made that mean they will be poorer next year than this year. That it is the decisions of this Government that mean that this emergency increase in funding is necessary. That it is this Government that has squandered billions on contracts with its mates, purchased subpar PPE, and wasted billions on a top down reorganisation that - ten years on - has made care worse. Unfortunately, Mr Speaker, the Government has also chosen precisely the worst tax to increase. They have done so out of political expediency at best. They have done so to save their own wallets at worst. The average worker will suffer twice: they will pay a higher tax, and they will face lower wages when their employers have to pay the extra tax on their wages. That will cost the average worker £360. Two earner families will be worse off by £720 on average next year. But what about the buy to let landlord with a dozen properties? Not a penny more, Mr Speaker. Not a penny more. What about the rich non-dom? Not a penny more, Mr Speaker. What about the wealthy taxpayer who earns his money through capital gains on his immense assets, or through company profits? Not a penny more, Mr Speaker. The opposition will no doubt say there is no perfect tax rise. But they have chosen probably the worst of all. It will cut the incomes of those just trying to get by. And it will leave the wealth, income, and position of those who already have plenty untouched. People will not resent paying more for their NHS, Mr Speaker. But they will, and they should, resent the fact that ordinary Britons are being asked to pay a disproportionate burden of extra funding for our National Health Service. The former Chancellor used to like to claim that we're all in this together. This deliberate, penny-pinching announcement puts pay to that claim once and for all. I hope the House will reject this so-called "levy" and demand the Government bring forward a fairer, more sustainable funding package for our health and social care services.
  15. Blue Labour, “Reclaiming Labour’s heartlands: confronting the concerns of forgotten communities” Thank you for hosting this important discussion today, comrades. I just got back from a Progress event and said that one of the pillars that I believe Labour needs as part of an election winning manifesto is a local focus on the local issues facing communities in our country. I welcome the opportunity to expand on that more today. When we knock on the doors of our traditional supporters, what is it we hear? We hear about the local area falling behind and struggling: the local high street and the local pub closing and no one seeming to care. We hear about crime. We hear about substandard housing and overcrowded public services. We hear about the people in charge that don’t care - or are incapable of - protecting them and their families from any of it. These are all issues that communities like theirs used to be able to look to the Labour Party for solutions for. Our challenge is to fix that. Some of this is structural. I think that we have had great success as a party and as a country where there has been real devolution. Local leaders are closer to communities, and they understand the potential that makes each place unique. They can harness the power of place, enhancing not just local economies, but also local pride and identity. But devolution is too patchy. And the approach taken by this Government is at worst patronising, at best Whitehall-knows-best. Rather than “city deals” and “competitive pots” that leave local communities and local leaders begging for resources from penny pinching Chancellors, we need real devolution for all communities that want it - and resources and power in their hands to manage local issues like crime, dilapidated high streets in our towns, and housing. A stronger, community-based local government can be a direct link between Labour in Government and the communities we serve. Another important part of the puzzle is recognising that free trade and free movement are free to those who can take advantage of them. But they are not freedom for those who feel that their security has been affected by them. John Smith in his landmark Tawney lecture lambasted that neoliberal concept of negative freedom. Real freedom, he argued, required economic and social security. Labour’s future must surely be finding a way to bridge between a commitment to free trade and to fair immigration policies; with a commitment to the security and economic freedom of the communities at risk of being left behind. I’m afraid I do not share the view that I know some of you hold that we need to pull up the drawbridge. Nor, really, do I think that is what our traditional communities want. What they want is to know that people who come here will pay their share; they will add jobs not take them; they will join our communities and enrich them. I do not think that the solution is the Tory one - to have one immigration system for the very wealthy and another for care workers or for nurses. But I think Labour should consider ideas such as immigration bonds, employer skills and impact levies, and a return of the migration impact fund. Measures that really tackle the issue our communities are concerned about, rather than Boris Johnson’s numbers game. Linked to that, I think it is time that we return to a contributory principle in our welfare state. People feel as if the system isn’t for them and is for everyone else. We should be looking at linking what people can take out of the system when they fall on temporary hardship to what they have contributed. Universal Credit has been a corrosive reform that has fundamentally and finally broken the link between contribution and entitlement. As part of unwinding UC, we need to re-establish that link. National Insurance should live up to its name. There’s plenty more that I could go into, but I think that is plenty of food for thought for now, and I look forward to hearing from the other speakers. Thank you.
  16. Progress: “Securing the future: crafting a winning offer for the next election” Thank you very much - I hope everyone is enjoying conference. The topic of this fringe event is how we as a party craft a winning offer for the next election. I’m not going to presume to have all the answers - I’m looking forward to hearing from other speakers too - but I do have a few perspectives I want to share. I remember one of the first interviews that Tony Blair gave that made me stop and think about his political philosophy. It was one of those rather awful puff pieces just after he became leader - the cup of tea in hand in the modest kitchen, shirt sleeves rolled up, wife loyally at his side. But he was speaking about the 1970s, and the disconnect between Labour’s narrow focus on nationalising shipyards, while a country struggling with day-to-day issues like inflation and unemployment and poverty looked on in confusion. It was a prescient warning. On a principled level, all of us in the Labour Party share common socialist or social democratic values. But it was a mistake for the 2019 manifesto to mention public ownership eight times but child poverty not at all. To mention public ownership eight times but violent crime only three. Or to mention public ownership eight times but the high street only four. Days of the election campaign were lost to a debate on who should own broadband cables. I have no doubt that there are deeply held views that the road to British social democracy lies in more public ownership. At the very least, I heartily disagree that it is a route to an election winning message. It doesn’t appeal to our dissatisfied core voters who want to know how we are going to lift their wages, cut crime in their neighbourhood, or rejuvenate their crumbling highstreets. But it also doesn’t motivate our newer voters: younger, liberal, internationalist voters who want to know that we have a positive vision for Britain’s future place in the world and for a fairer and more inclusive society. Our task before the next election is to forge that electoral coalition, like all winning Labour Governments-in-waiting have. The Conservatives want to try and divide those two groups with culture wars: we simply cannot let them. What could that offer look like? I think it must rest on three pillars. First, a credible and marketable economic platform. We need to show how in a five-year Labour Government working people and their families would be better off. A real living wage, expanded rights at work for those in the gig economy, a credible plan to support and grow our innovative small businesses, a balanced fiscal policy that shows how we would live within our country’s means, and no increases in tax for average households can all form a part of that offer. Second, a local focus on the issues that matter to local communities. Labour has a wonderful network of brilliant mayors, including Andy Burnham in Manchester. They have been successful as advocates for local issues, listening to and focussing on the communities they represent, and as drivers of renewal and regeneration. We need to leverage their success to connect national policy to the local priorities and challenges people face in our towns and cities outside London. The decline of the high street; the closure of local pubs; crime and antisocial behaviour; poor affordable local public transport options; run down schools and hospitals and care homes. Technocratic promises of an extra x% of health spending or extra police spending mean nothing without a real connection in practice and in communication to the local communities facing local challenges. Third, a visionary commitment to climate action, a fairer society, and an internationalist Britain. Harold Wilson told us that we are a moral crusade or we are nothing. I happen to agree. Labour is at its best when it combines that localist instinct and that focus on real improvements to working peoples’ lives with a vision for a better future. To me, that means showing how action on climate change will mean a better, cleaner, fairer future for everyone. It means renewed pledges on child poverty, on equal pay and trans rights. It means a positive vision for Britain in the world after Brexit. We’ve spent six years arguing about it, but let’s move on - let’s show Labour out there as the Government in waiting that wants to strike fair trade deals across the globe; give a better deal to developing countries than we could in the EU; drive poverty reduction and climate action across the world. Those three pillars: a credible economic offer, a focus on localism and local issues, and a vision for a brighter future. They are the ingredients that can form an election winning offer in 2024. They are the ingredients that stood behind our landmark victories in 1945, 1964, 1974, and 1997. And they are what we have otherwise missed. Thank you.
  17. New Statesman: Labour’s priorities for a post-Brexit, post-Pandemic Britain Thank you comrades - it’s always nice to speak at the New Statesman’s events at conference. The topic today is what Labour’s priorities should be for a post-Brexit, post-Pandemic Britain. It’s a big question with many answers. I’m not going to come here with a big vision - I want to put a couple of cards on the table instead - but those who know me know what motivates me in politics: tackling poverty and inequity particularly for our children, and enabling left behind communities and towns to grow and prosper. On the first, we need a new Child Poverty Act enshrining a new commitment to end child poverty. I am proud of the last Labour Government’s determination in this area, but also aware of the limitations of what it tried to achieve. Sadly, the progress they made has been reversed. There were 3.2 million kids in poverty before the pandemic - more than at any other point since the millennium. And yet the Government progressed with its £20 a week cut to Universal Credit. A new Child Poverty Act needs to set a clear benchmark for what we mean by ending child poverty. New and innovative approaches have started looking beyond crude income measures to look at lived experience and deprivation. Their findings are distressing and a call to action. But they are also informative for those of us who want to change things. We can tackle poverty by raising the incomes of the lowest households and so expanding their opportunities, but also by otherwise bridging those families’ access to services, to necessities, and to the community. Both are important: we should not just care about moving children or their families over an income threshold, but also about the experience of those living below or only just above it. Child poverty is a more complex issue than we have previously given it credit for. Yes, there are quick wins: getting rid of the two-child limit and the bedroom tax, and reversing the cut to universal credit. But a joined up approach means a more universal offer on childcare; work that pays; and fairer access to health and education services. So I think that if a Labour Government wants to take it seriously, it needs a Minister for Child Poverty Reduction supported by a cross-government team that can draw together the various strands to a real Child Poverty Strategy. The Government’s so-called levelling up agenda is actually linked to this: the biggest rises in child poverty have been in the most deprived parts of the country. The trouble is of course that levelling up is a sham. The Government is still presiding over a broken model where it concentrates all power in Westminster, expects Whitehall bureaucrats to make all the best decisions, and then tilts the scales for political reasons. It’s no way to address regional inequalities, even if it were a way to run a Government. We have patchwork devolution in England, hamstrung by Whitehall interference and political nepotism that controls the cash and the power. It’s time for a devolution revolution in England that puts the power, the money, and the agency in the hands of local people and local leaders. Central Government should be enabler and banker, not a micromanager. We should give a new generation of combined authorities - covering any and all areas of England who want to form one - new powers, including secondary legislative powers - over high streets, housing, transport, economic infrastructure, business support, and even potentially some public services. That should be supported by a new fair funding settlement, that removes the quote-unquote “competitive” funding model, which is really just a smokescreen for dodgy deals at worst and “Whitehall knows best” at best. As part of that, we could look to devolving elements of the welfare budget - including housing benefit - that are better managed by local communities not by national government. Those new combined authorities should be free to determine for themselves whether a mayoral or council based model works best for them. These are two, only somewhat related ideas for how Labour could offer progressive but practical ways forward to transform our country after the pandemic. To move power, wealth, and opportunity permanently from Whitehall to local people; and to make a new and clear pledge to give all children the opportunities to live in and participate in society without fear or experience of poverty. Thank you
  18. Name: Arya West Avatar: Katie Ghose Age: 59 Sex: Female Ethnicity: Anglo-Indian Marital Status: Divorced (2 kids), Remarried Sexual Orientation: Lesbian Party: Labour Political Outlook: In the Progressive - Brownite - Blue Labour nexus Constituency: West Ham Year Elected: 2005 Education: Grammar school educated and studied English Literature at Oxford. Career: Initially worked in publishing but became a surprisingly successful children's author publishing stories that she had initially intended for her children. In the late 1980s and the 1990s as part of that role she toured schools and was shocked by growing inequality and deprivation. She became an ambassador and later a Trustee for the Child Poverty Action Group and was present during the historic pledge to eliminate child poverty. She continued publishing books up to her election in 2005. She received a Damehood in 2004 for services to children. Political Career: Arya was initially approached to stand for West Ham in 2001 but declined per personal reasons. She stood for election and won in 2005. She became a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Children Schools and Families in 2008. In 2010 she joined the Shadow DWP team but left in 2011 and has remained on the backbenches. She is a member of the DWP Select Committee. Particular causes she has been vocal on since 2010 include gay marriage, food banks and welfare reform, and growing inequality. She supported David Miliband, Yvette Cooper, Owen Smith, and Lisa Nandy in the most recent Labour leadership elections.
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