Great Britain

Labour Conference 2021 – live: Corbyn fans ‘misguided’ says senior MP, as Rayner defends Tory ‘scum’ remark

Angela Rayner defends calling Tory MPs 'scum'

Labour members who joined the party because they were inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership were “misguided”, one of Keir Starmer’s shadow ministers has said.

Speaking at the party’s conference in Brighton, shadow security minister Conor McGinn said members who supported the former leader were not necessarily “irretrievable” but had been “misled” by others.

Meanwhile, Angela Rayner has defended calling Conservative ministers “scum” during a reception at the conference.

The deputy Labour leader reportedly described the Tories as “a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic” during an event for Labour activists from northwest England on Saturday.

Defending her actions the following morning, she told Sky News: “That was post-watershed — what I was trying to get across… the anger and frustration when you have a prime minister who has said things that are racist, homophobic… at a time when they are cutting universal credit… we can’t sit on the sidelines here.

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Labour is ‘party of homeowners and tenants’, says shadow housing secretary

Shadow housing secretary Lucy Powell said Labour is "the party of home-owners and tenants" while the Conservatives are "the party of speculators and developers".

Opening a conference debate on housing and transport, Ms Powell said a Labour government would "fix the housing crisis with a new settlement" for housing, adding: "The Conservatives see housing as a commodity, to be traded, profited from, part of an investment portfolio, a pension pot, not as the bedrock of stable lives and life chances."

She said Labour would create "a Building Works Agency" to "assess, fix and fund and then certify all tall buildings" to prevent another Grenfell disaster.

Ms Powell also said Labour "can't continue" with Right to Buy, adding: "I see no contradiction in us also promoting home-ownership - not for more landlords or second homes, but for ordinary working people.

"Central to this is bold action on restoring the link between wages and housing costs, and tackling the thorny issues of quality, affordability and security in private rentals, ending rough sleeping and no-fault evictions."

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Exclusion of delegates ‘like Stalin’, says John McDonnell

Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell has accused Keir Starmer of behaving like Stalin, after a number of delegates arriving at the Labour conference in Brighton were turned away at the door and told they had been expelled.

Mr McDonnell, a close ally of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, was scathing about the vision for Labour set out by Starmer in a pamphlet this week, describing it as “banality after banality”.

More on this from our political editor Andrew Woodcock:

Former shadow chancellor dismisses leader’s vision pamphlet as ‘banality after banality’

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We will make happiness for all Britons a priority, says shadow culture secretary

Happiness for Britons should be a priority under a future Labour government, according to the shadow culture secretary.

Jo Stevens said this is “just as important as economic growth” as she reiterated the party’s desire to ensure every decision in power would have to improve wellbeing.

Ms Stevens also confirmed Labour’s plans to take social media firms to task for scams hosted on their platforms and also place a “proper, effective legal duty of care” on the companies about what they host on their sites.

Speaking at the party’s conference in Brighton, Ms Stevens thanked NHS workers for helping her get through a “very frightening experience” when she was admitted to hospital with Covid.

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Members who joined Labour under Corbyn were ‘misguided’, Starmer shadow minister says

Labour members who joined the party because they were inspired by Jeremy Corbyn's leadership were "misguided", one of Keir Starmer's shadow ministers has said.

Speaking at the party's conference in Brighton shadow security minister Conor McGinn said members who supported the former leader were not necessarily "irretrievable" but had been "misled" by others.

Read more on this from our policy correspondent Jon Stone:

Frontbenchers kick off conference with call to take fight to the party’s left wing

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We won’t nationalise energy, says Keir Starmer

Labour will not nationalise the big six energy companies, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The leader of the Opposition also vowed he would not rule out increases to income tax under a Labour government, saying only that he would aim to ensure those with the broadest shoulders bear the greatest burden.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has more details:

‘Nothing is off the table’: income tax rises not ruled out

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Vote on rule changes expected to be ‘incredibly tight'

This evening’s vote on Sir Keir Starmer’s proposed changes to party rules is expected to be ‘incredibly’ tight, The Guardian’s chief political correspondent Jessica Elgot is reporting.

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Opinion: Angela Rayner knows using the word ‘scum’ still doesn’t compare to some of Boris Johnson’s remarks

In a piece for Independent Voices, our associate editor Sean O’Grady argues that in her comments last night Angela Rayner is “treading a very thin line between loyalty and pursuing her own interests, and doing it skilfully”. He writes:

Post-watershed as the words were, and uttered to get “fire in the belly” of demoralised Labour activists as she stated, and as much as they sound like a string of consciousness, they were carefully chosen. The “s-word” was in fact used twice, as reported by The Mirror.

She was doing a couple of things there, consciously or not. First, she was having a bit of mischief because she and her audience remembered how she’d been told off for directing the unparliamentary word “scum” at some Tory backbencher in the Commons - but here she was among friends.

Second, she said what an awful lot of voters, and not just Labour voters, think, or at least the banana republic bit. Indeed, I’d not be surprised if Ken Clark and Amber Rudd hadn’t long ago reached the same conclusion about Boris and his gang.

You can find the rest of his analysis here:

Labour’s deputy leader likely believes that her words – and the stout defence of them – will resonate with many voters

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Starmer urged not to abandon Corbyn-era nationalisation policies

Sir Keir Starmer has faced union demands not to abandon Jeremy Corbyn-era policies to nationalise key industries – which he stood on during his leadership campaign.

As the Labour leader ruled out nationalising the “big six” energy firms, a motion moved at the party’s conference urged him not make “timid tweaks” to the system and instead aim for “deep and transformative change”.

The Communication Workers Union and Unite proposal also insisted there was a clear case for “extending public ownership” post-Covid, arguing the next Labour government should commit to bring the Royal Mail back into public ownership, in addition to the “broadband-relevant parts” of BT.

Unite's Tom Murphy said problems in the country will “not be solved with belief in the market alone”, adding: “It's vital that as we face the recovery and the long-term transition of a green future that this party does not turn its back on the democratic public ownership.

“Recent polling confirmed once again that the majority of the public back common ownership rather than face once again a chaotic cycle of deregulation, collapse and bailout.”

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Here’s some of the most recent media reaction to Angela Rayner’s description of Tory ministers as “scum” at a fringe conference last night, which she doubled down on this morning in an interview with Sky News – saying that letting children go hungry is “a scummy thing to do”.

The Financial Times’s Whitehall editor suggested it could pit Labour against voters it needs to win back, while Guardian columnist Dr Frances Ryan suggested the outrage was an example of “civility politics”.

Meanwhile, LBC’s James O’Brien took aim at so-called free speech defenders, while his colleague Iain Dale pointed to another contentious remark from the opposite benches.

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‘Nuclear is vital to our low-carbon future’: GMB proposes ‘Green New Deal’ with nuclear and gas

The powerful GMB union is proposing a less radical Green New Deal motion, which backs both nuclear and “green gas”.

“Energy is complex and we are going to need gas for years to come as we chart our way to the hydrogen future,” said general secretary, Gary Smith. “We need gas for heating and power but we need it for the NHS and for our food supply too.

“And I absolutely salute the gas workers who keep us warm and safe and who struggle against fire and rehire in British Gas.

“The Tories have no plan for energy, they have no plan at all. But I have to say our response as a party has been weak, and if we are going to build a radical and credible plan for energy, we need to start listening to workers and trade unions.

“I will say this to you: nuclear is vital to our low-carbon future. And to the King Canutes who will come to this platform: new nuclear is happening. It is supporting tens of thousands of jobs.”

According to legend, King Canute sought to hold back the tide – either out of arrogance or piety.

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