Jump to content

Labour Special Conference: Acceptance Speech


Recommended Posts

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!

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...