Labour conference lookahead | Monday 26 September

The who, when and where of the Labour conference.

Look out for

Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, will address conference soon after midday. He will tell delegates that the party must work to restore economic credibility in the way that it did before Tony Blair was elected. To this end, he will pledge to set out strict fiscal rules for a future Labour government in the party's election manifesto. He will also promise to spend any windfall from the sale of bank shares on paying off the national debt, rather than on boosting public spending.

Balls will stress that spending cuts are here to stay. "We still know today what we recognised in 1994," he will say. "We will never have credibility unless we have the discipline and the strength to take tough decisions." In an interview with the Independent ahead of the speech, he said no-one in the shadow cabinet would make any promises at this stage to undo any government cuts.

He will, however, reiterate that rising unemployment and stalled economic growth prove that Labour was right to advocate a slower pace of deficit reduction. As the coalition continues to blame Labour's mismanagement for the current crisis, Balls will stress the role of the global crisis, warning in stark terms: "The country and the whole world is facing the threat of a lost decade of economic stagnation."

Last year, Balls was accused of being overly negative when he implied that George Osborne's economic policies would cause Britain to slip into a double-dip recession. Now, that warning looks prescient.

Signs of trouble?

Labour is in the midst of a two year policy review, so policy promises are unlikely to be on ground. Three and a half years ahead of the election, Labour has the problem that it cannot set out a full alternative plan -- but without this detail, will struggle to regain credibility. It can get around this by saying what it would do if in government now, something which Ed Miliband did at the weekend with his tuition fee proposals.

The results of yesterday's Refounding Labour vote wil be revealed. It is an extensive reform of the way internal leadership elections work.

On the fringe

Does Labour have an enterprise plan? Chuka Umunna, shadow minister for small business and enterprise, takes part in a panel discussion chaired by the New Statesman's political correspondent, Rafael Behr, from 5pm. More details.

Conference timetable

Morning - 9.30am: Conference opens

Welsh Report from Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales

Report from Glenis Willmott MEP, leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party

Panel discussion of "Britain in the World", with Harriet Harman, shadow secretary of state for international development, Jim Murphy, shadow secretary of state for defence, and Douglas Alexander, shadow foreign secretary

"Prosperity and Work" - speech by Ed Balls MP, shadow chancellor of the exchequer

12.45pm: Break

Afternoon - 2.15pm: Conference reconvenes

Speech by John Denham, shadow secretary for business, innovation and skills: "Working Britain Today"

Speech by Maria Eagle, shadow secretary of state for transport

Speech by Liam Byrne, shadow secretary of state for work and pensions

Scottish Report from Ann McKechin, shadow secretary of state for Scotland, and Iain Gray MSP, leader of the Scottish Labour Party

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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The government must demand that Iran release Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Iran's imprisonment of my constituent breaches the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

I grew up with a very paranoid mother. She had tragically lost members of her family as a teenager and, as a result, she is extremely fearful when it came to her children. I used to laugh at her growing up – I indulged it but often scoffed at her constant need to hear from us.

A few days ago, I was in Parliament as normal. My husband, his parents and our baby daughter were all in Parliament. This rare occasion had come about due to my mother in law’s birthday – I thought it would be a treat for her to lunch in the Mother of Parliaments!

The division bells rang half way through our meal and I left them to vote, grabbing my phone of the table. “See you in ten minutes!” I told them. I didn’t see them for more than five hours.

The minute the doors bolted and the Deputy Speaker announced that we were indefinitely being kept safe in the chamber, all I could think about was my daughter. In my heart of hearts, I knew she was safe. She was surrounded by people who loved her and would protect her even more ferociously than I ever could.

But try explaining that to a paranoid mother. Those five hours felt like an eternity. In my head, I imagined she was crying for me and that I couldn’t be there for her while the building we were in was under attack. In reality, I later found out she had been happily singing Twinkle Twinkle little star and showing off her latest crawl.

That sense of helplessness and desperate impatience is hard to describe. I counted down the minutes until I could see her, as my imagination ran away with me. In those 5 hours, I started thinking more and more about my constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Here I was, temporarily locked in the Parliamentary chamber, surrounded by friends and colleagues and door keepers who were doing all they could to keep me safe. I knew I was going to be let out eventually and that I would be reunited with my daughter and husband within hours.

Nazanin has been detained in the notorious Evin prison in Iran for nearly a year. She only gets an occasional supervised visit with her two-year-old daughter Gabriella. She’s missed Christmas with Gabriella, she missed Gabriella’s second birthday and no doubt she will be missing Mother’s Day with Gabriella.

But it’s not just the big occasions, it’s the everyday developments when Gabriella learns a new song, discovers a new story, makes a new friend. Those are the important milestones that my mother never missed with me and the ones I want to make sure I don’t miss with my daughter.

Unfortunately, Nazanin is just one of many examples to choose from. Globally there are more than half a million women in prison serving a sentence following conviction, or are awaiting trial. Many of these women are mothers who have been separated from their children for years.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Bangkok Rules - the first international instrument to explicitly address the different needs that female prisoners have. It was also the first instrument to outline safeguards for the children of imprisoned mothers.

The Bangkok Rules apply to all women prisoners throughout all stages of the criminal justice system, including before sentencing and after release. However, Nazanin’s case has seen a wilful flouting of the rules at each and every stage.

Rule 23 states that ‘Disciplinary sanctions for women prisoners shall not include a prohibition of family contact, especially with children’. Tell that to her daughter, Gabriella, who has barely seen her mother for the best part of a year.

Rule 26 adds that women prisoners’ contact with their families shall be facilitated by all reasonable means, especially for those detained in prisons located far from their homes. Tell that to her husband, Richard, who in almost a year has only spoken to his wife via a few calls monitored by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Iran has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and supported the Bangkok Rules, yet it is breaching both with its treatment of Nazanin. It is therefore incumbent upon our government to take the formal step of calling for Nazanin's release - it is staggering they have not yet done so.

As I pass the window displays in shops for Mother’s Day, most of the cards have messages centred around ‘making your mother happy’. If there’s one mother I’d like to make happy this year, it’s Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Tulip Siddiq is Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn