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29 September 2010

Conference 2010 Lookahead |Wednesday 29 September

The who, when and where of the Labour conference.

By Nick Petrie

Look out for

After the focus on Ed Miliband’s speech to conference yesterday, attention will be turned to his older brother’s plans. David Miliband has kept his cards close to his chest since loosing the leadership race and no-one is sure whether he intends to step back from frontline politics . There is no doubting his caliber as a politician and a diplomat and if he does choose to take a step back many will consider it a serious blow to the Labour Party — not least his supporters.

Some commentators suggest that it would be difficult for David to stay in the shadow cabinet and work alongside his younger brother. Nick Robinson went so far as to say that “David Miliband has illustrated in a way why it is so difficult for him to stay in the shadow cabinet. I know in my gut that David Miliband will tell us he is off.”

Whatever his decision it will have serious implications for the Labour party going forward.

Signs of trouble

There is some level of frustration amongst Labour MPs after Ed Miliband used his inaugural conference speech to criticise the Iraq War. David Miliband was filmed asking the party’s deputy leader Harriet Harman: “You voted for it, why are you clapping?”

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Ed, having not been elected until 2005 has been able to use the decision to go to war with Iraq as a means to differentiate himself from the old Labour regime. The frustration lies in the fact that Ed was “less than public” in his opposition to the war, but now takes advantage of not being forced into a position in 2003.

As he tries to forge a new direction for the Labour party he is going to struggle to remain on good terms with those he looks to distance himself from.

On the fringe

The Centre for Social Justice is hosting a fringe at 17.45, entitled: Achieving Social Justice: The Voluntary Sector. The event is being chaired by Gavin Poole (CSJ Executive Director) and will examine the role of the voluntary sector in tackling poverty in our local communities. Speakers include Chris Bullivant, CSJ Projects Director and Mike Royal, Director, The Lighthouse Group.

Conference timetable

9.30: Conference opens, report from Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC)

9.50: Speech from Labour London Mayor nominee Ken Livingstone

10:00: International speaker

11:15 Health (Andy Burnham)

12:15 Education and Skills debate (Ed Balls)

12.45: Conference adjourns for lunch

14:15: Rebuilding for the future

15.50: Sustainable communities debate (Tessa Jowell and Ben Bradshaw)

16.00: Conference closes.