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Poll gives Labour 17-point lead over Tories ahead of Keir Starmer’s speech to conference – UK politics live

Labour conference schedule today

Ben Quinn

Here’s a schedule what is expected to happen today at the Labour party conference, where delegates are beginning to filter in:

10am A report by the conference arrangements committee, which is responsible for deciding the schedule and what topics are debated on the floor.

10.10am Morning plenary: discussions themed on “Britain in the world; a green and digital future”.

Speeches are expected from the shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, the shadow culture secretary, Lucy Powell, and Jim McMahon, the chair of the Co-operative party and shadow secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs

12.35pm Voting.

2pm Keir Starmer will address the main hall – and the country at large – in the conference’s set-piece event, in which the Labour leader will seek to project himself as a future prime minister.

4pm Afternoon plenary: discussions themed around “a future where families come first”. The shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy, is expected to have given a speech by now in which he will lay out Labour’s foreign policy priorities.

5.20pm Last voting of the day.

Key events

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Streeting says banning ‘bogof’ offers during cost of living crisis would be wrong

When Boris Johnson was prime minister, the government was set to ban “buy one get one free” (“bogof”) offers, as part of its anti-obesity strategy, but in May that ban was delayed until 2023. The ban was probably gone for good, because during the Tory leadership contest Liz Truss said she was opposed to initiatives like that.

This morning Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, said that he also thought it would be wrong to ban “bogof” offers during the cost of living crisis. He said:

There are good public health arguments for banning such offers. I’m not tin-eared enough to say that a Labour government would do that in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. I don’t think that would be the right thing to do right now.

What I’ve said to the food and drink industry is before government comes along with a stick and tries to regulate it to do the right thing, let’s work together.

Price isn’t the problem here, it’s the salt and sugar content of food, because as we saw with soft drinks, a bit of reformulation can go a long way.

Thornberry says ‘era of criminal impunity’ will end under Labour

Emily Thornberry, the shadow attorney general, delivered the first main speech in the conference hall this morning and she said that under Labour the “era of criminal impunity” would end. She explained:

In 2013, I published a report urging the government to tackle those companies committing fraud at the expense of their employees, their competitors, and all too often the public purse.

In the decade since I published that report, just seven companies have been convicted of corporate fraud. In that same period, 5,000 times as many people have been convicted of benefits fraud.

That shows this government’s double standards, but also their downright indolence. Faced with a complex challenge, they have simply waved the white flag to white collar crime, and stop trying to convict those responsible.

Another addition to their special club of criminal impunity, along with burglary, vehicle theft, street robbery, and to their eternal shame, rape and sexual assault.

But that will all change under a Labour government …

We will end the era of criminal impunity. We will give protection and security to women and girls, the elderly and the vulnerable. And we will send the message loud and clear to all those who prey on our communities, that we are coming for you.

Thornberry said part of the problem was that the Tories treated the law the law “not as a guardrail to keep it on the straight and narrow, but a barrier to be torn down whenever it gets in their way”.

Ben Quinn

Ben Quinn

Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, will be speaking in around an hour at Labour’s conference, where she will recall the killing of Olivia Pratt-Korbel five miles down the road from the where she is speaking today.

We’re expecting Cooper to talk about how Labour in government will bring in a new law to crackdown on criminals who lure young people into violence.

“we will outlaw the exploitation of children for crime,” she will tell delegates during a session at the conference, called ‘Safe and Secure Communities.’

Cooper is preceded by the Shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry, and the Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, Steve Reed.

The Guardian’s Home Affairs Editor, Rajeev Syal, also reported yesterday on how Cooper will also announce that victims of rape, domestic and sexual abuse will be given immediate access to trained specialists in police control rooms and a dedicated investigative unit in every force under a future Labour government.

Labour can make ‘significant gains’ in Scotland at general election, says Anas Sarwar

Andrew Sparrow

Andrew Sparrow

Good morning. I’m Andrew Sparrow, joining Ben Quinn. We will be writing the blog together today.

Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader, has told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland that he expects Labour to make “significant gains’” in Scotland at the next general election. He explained:

I’m not going to put a number on it, but I want us to make significant gains.

If we look at the council election results, we were in the game in around 13, 14 seats if that council election was reflected – I’m not saying we would have won 13, 14 seats, we were in the game in 13, 14 seats.

I think in the context of a UK government where we’re not just going to oppose the Tories, we’re going to replace them, I genuinely believe we can make significant gains.

I think Scotland is not going to be the drag on the ticket – Scotland’s not going to be what stop us from having a UK Labour government. Scotland’s going to help us deliver that UK Labour government.

Scotland was dominated by Labour for much of the postwar period, and even in 2010 when Labour lost in the UK, it won 41 of the 59 Scottish seats. But the SNP vote soared after the failed independence referendum in 2014, which led to yes voters swinging wholesale behind the nationalists, and in the 2015 general election Labour won just one seat in Scotland. That went up to seven seats in 2017, but at the last election the party was back on just one seat.

Anas Sarwar.
Anas Sarwar. Photograph: Gary Roberts Photography/Rex/Shutterstock

Keir Starmer in his hotel room in Liverpool yesterday checking the conference speech he will deliver this afternoon.
Keir Starmer in his hotel room in Liverpool yesterday checking the conference speech he will deliver this afternoon. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Bank of England should hold emergency meeting – former deputy governor

The Bank of England should consider an emergency meeting in light of the UK economy’s current state, its former deputy governor for monetary policy has said.

Prof Sir Charlie Bean told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the Bank was “rightly reluctant to have emergency meetings”, but he added:

I think on this occasion if I had still been at the Bank in my role as deputy governor, I certainly would have been counselling the governor that I think this is one of the occasions where it might have made sense.

Labour conference schedule today

Ben Quinn

Ben Quinn

Here’s a schedule what is expected to happen today at the Labour party conference, where delegates are beginning to filter in:

10am A report by the conference arrangements committee, which is responsible for deciding the schedule and what topics are debated on the floor.

10.10am Morning plenary: discussions themed on “Britain in the world; a green and digital future”.

Speeches are expected from the shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, the shadow culture secretary, Lucy Powell, and Jim McMahon, the chair of the Co-operative party and shadow secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs

12.35pm Voting.

2pm Keir Starmer will address the main hall – and the country at large – in the conference’s set-piece event, in which the Labour leader will seek to project himself as a future prime minister.

4pm Afternoon plenary: discussions themed around “a future where families come first”. The shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy, is expected to have given a speech by now in which he will lay out Labour’s foreign policy priorities.

5.20pm Last voting of the day.

Rowena Mason

Rowena Mason

The decision to pay Liz Truss’s new chief of staff, Mark Fullbrook, through a private company has been dropped after criticism from within the Conservatives as well as from opposition parties.

The government admitted over the weekend that Fullbrook would be paid through his lobbying firm, a move that could have helped him avoid paying tax. He had previously claimed the firm had stopped all commercial activities.

It subsequently emerged that Fullbrook had been promised a lucrative contract to run Truss’s next election campaign as well as being made chief of staff.

However, the government made a U-turn after an outcry from the opposition and some Tory MPs, with one saying it did not “smell right” after tax changes in the budget making it easier to pay less tax if paid through a self-employed company.

Mark Fullbrook in Downing Street
Mark Fullbrook in Downing Street.
Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Balancing the books has been made tougher for the chancellor after the mini-budget, according to a thinktank.

The Resolution Foundation’s chief executive, Torsten Bell, told Sky News:

The world we are heading for is a bumpy few weeks. The chancellor is now going to have quite a tough time because he has now set out plans to balance the books in November. That is going to be very hard.

Actually balancing the books in November is going to be harder than it would have been to show you are balancing the books last week because higher interest rates will make it harder to do. You might need £15bn worth of tough choices now that you didn’t need last Friday.

Bell earlier told the programme that markets did not have confidence in the government’s proposals because they did not think they were serious. He added:

In the end, lower taxes will mean worse public services, or other people’s taxes having to go up, and it is those choices and ducking those choices that markets are looking at and saying that is not what serious policymaking looks like.

Ben Quinn

Ben Quinn

While David Lammy will be laying out his vision later today of what a potential Labour government’s foreign policy platform would be, I listened to him speak at a conference fringe meeting yesterday where he was scathing of the government’s relationship with regimes such as Saudi Arabia, particularly when it came to the supply of arms against the backdrop of the war in Yemen.

The same fringe, organised by the Electoral Reform Society and focused on a discussion about renewing democracy “in the age of authoritarianism”, was overshadowed by far-right gains in Italy at the weekend, and also in Sweden recently.

But Lammy said the examples of Germany and Australia – and the Social Democratic party (SPD) and the Labor party respectively – showed how progressive parties could push back against the rise of populism.

“Progressive parties do that by staying part of the mainstream and that means – in the UK – education and the NHS ,” he said.

Lammy, sitting alongside the shadow leader of the House of Commons, Thangam Debbonaire, was asked by one Labour member how canvassers could overcome what she described as the “cult of personality”.

“You can imagine what people say, that Keir is boring, Beergate, and that Boris Johnson is a fun guy,” said the member.

Debbonaire suggested that her experience was still that policy trumped personality when it boiled down to voters worried about basics, such as childcare.

Parth Patel, a senior fellow at the IPPR, which has highlighted in the past a “deficit” of working-class representatives in Labour and other parties, told the fringe that personality mattered alongside policy, adding: “It’s no coincidence that many of the rising stars of populism come from working-class backgrounds. Just look at Meloni.”

After Far Right gains in Sweden & Italy, shadow foreign sec David Lammy cites Australia, Germany as how progressive parties can push back.
They have to “stay part of mainstream conversation, which in UK means NHS, education ..” tells #LabourConference2022 fringe pic.twitter.com/RnVYFTeJKC

— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) September 26, 2022

Patrick Wintour

Patrick Wintour

British citizens abroad will have a statutory right to receive Foreign Office consular assistance under a Labour government, in plans proposed by the shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy, who will lay out his priorities in a speech later today to delegates at the party conference.

The proposals come in the wake of repeated complaints by British prisoners abroad of Foreign Office indifference, or determination to put British diplomatic interests ahead of individual citizens.

In a speech to the Labour conference, Lammy will say it is time to learn the lessons from the experiences of British-Iranian dual citizens such as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and the British Sikh activist Jagtar Singh Johal, who is still being held in an Indian jail without charge.

Rowena Mason

Rowena Mason

Ethics rules for the London mayor must be strengthened as Boris Johnson may have failed to meet the standard expected of public figures over his failure to declare personal links to the US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, an inquiry into the affair has found.

An investigation by the Greater London Authority’s oversight committee said Johnson had opened himself up to “a perception of lack of due process and favouritism” over Arcuri’s inclusion on trade missions in an unofficial capacity.

The inquiry is the latest in a long-running saga concerning Johnson and his relationship with Arcuri, an American entrepreneur whose startup was given £126,000 in sponsorship money and who was allowed on three trade trips with the mayor in 2014 and 2015.

Arcuri has signalled that the pair were at one point in a relationship, and a previous inquiry found there was some evidence of this.

Boris Johnson and Jennifer Arcuri at an event in July 2013
Boris Johnson and Jennifer Arcuri at an event in July 2013. Photograph: Innotech Network/YouTube

Jeremy Corbyn should not have the Labour whip restored, the shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, said this morning.

Keir Starmer has previously suggested Corbyn may be allowed to return to sitting as a Labour MP if he apologises for a statement made in the wake of the equalities watchdog’s report on antisemitism.

But he went on to say in April that Corbyn would not have the Labour whip restored while he continued to associate with the Stop the War coalition.

Though Corbyn has been readmitted as a Labour member, Starmer has not allowed him to take the Labour whip, meaning he cannot sit as a Labour MP.

Corbyn took to the stage at a rally in Liverpool last night organised by Tribune magazine.

Virginia Harrison

Virginia Harrison

Turmoil in the financial markets which saw the pound fall to a record low against the dollar dominates today’s front pages.

The currency tumbled as investors lost confidence in the UK’s public finances after last Friday’s mini-budget.

The Guardian leads with “Sterling crisis deepens as Truss’s strategy unravels”, reporting that the government was struggling to prevent a full-scale loss of financial market confidence in its economic strategy.

The Financial Times has “Bank of England and Treasury fail to calm market nerves over UK finances”. The paper says a statement from the Bank “dashed market hopes of an emergency interest rate rise to prop up the pound”.

The Times leads on the central bank’s pledge to act after the fall of the pound with its headline “Bank vows to step in after day of turmoil”.

The Telegraph has “Spooked lenders ditch new mortgages in pound chaos,” noting Halifax, Virgin Money and Skipton were among the lenders pulling mortgage deals ahead of an anticipated rate rise.

The i newspaper has a similar take with its lead story, “New mortgages blocked amid UK market turmoil”, above a picture of Liz Truss and a smiling Kwasi Kwarteng.

The Express says “Don’t panic! We have got a plan to cut debt”. It says the chancellor “shrugged off yesterday’s financial market jitters” with a vow to set out his strategy to bring down debt.

The Metro has “The pound Kwartanks” alongside a picture of Kwarteng.

The Mirror runs the subheading “Tories economic disaster” above its headline “Out of control”. The paper says millions of households face further financial misery as “Kwarteng’s tax cuts plunge markets into chaos”.

The Mail’s take is “Fury at the city slickers betting against UK Plc.” It cites senior Tories as saying short sellers were “trying to make money out of bad news”.

Meanwhile, more than a few eyebrows were raised last night as the prime minister, Liz Truss, sent her congratulations to Giorgia Meloni, the far-right leader who is set to become Italy’s first female premier.

Congratulations to @GiorgiaMeloni on her party’s success in the Italian elections.

From supporting Ukraine to addressing global economic challenges, the UK and Italy are close allies. 🇬🇧🇮🇹

— Liz Truss (@trussliz) September 26, 2022

Wes Streeting says ‘cavalry is coming’ with Labour for people worried about cost of living crisis

In early morning broadcast interviews, the shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, told people with mortgages that the “cavalry is coming” with the Labour party.

He told Sky News:

All of us are frankly still recovering from our jaws hitting the floors last week with that budget from Kwasi Kwarteng. And the real-world consequences we’re seeing overnight, the withdrawal of mortgage products, tell us about the extent to which our own chancellor in this country has frightened the markets.

He added that what had unfolded on Monday was “just the tip of the iceberg” and that there would be huge additional costs to people with mortgages if interest rates go up in the way that some people are predicting.

And what was the chancellor’s answer yesterday? ‘Don’t worry folks, in November I’m going to come up with some new fiscal rules – ie I’ve ignored all the ones I’ve already got and I’m rewriting the rules and making them up as I go along.’ This isn’t serious leadership, it’s a reckless gamble.

The cavalry is coming with Labour. We’ve got serious people, with a serious plan that would make an enormous difference to families right across the country and to businesses, who are the backbone of our economy and will be the bedrock of economic growth.

Wes Streeting.
Wes Streeting. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Labour has 17-point lead over Tories – YouGov survey

Ben Quinn

Ben Quinn

Good morning from a chilly Liverpool where many delegates to the Labour conference are waking up to the news that their party has take its biggest poll lead over the Tories for more than 20 years.

The YouGov survey – for the Times – put Labour 17 points ahead, the party’s greatest lead since the firm started polling in 2001.

The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, and aides were meanwhile rewriting key sections of the speech he will make at conference today against the backdrop of market turmoil yesterday which was sparked by Kwasi Kwarteng’s tax-cutting mini-budget.

The Guardian’s political editor, Pippa Crerar, reports here on how Starmer will attempt to take on the mantle of Tony Blair later today by describing Labour as the “political wing of the British people” as he accuses the Tories of losing control of the economy and ceding the political centre.

In his keynote address, Starmer will set out his stall for the next general election by saying his plans show that Labour is once again “the party of the centre ground”.

He will state that Labour now offers the country a “fresh start” after the turbulence of successive Conservative governments, and will commit to getting the UK “out of this endless cycle of crisis”.

Echoing a view on the last few days’ economic disarray shared by many jittery Tory MPs, he will say:

What we’ve seen from the government in the past few days has no precedent.

We’re also going to hear keynote speeches today from the shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, and shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy.

We’ll keep your updated on all developments here in Liverpool and of course on all other political events, not least the government’s response to the crisis surrounding the pound as ministers struggle to prevent a full-scale loss of financial market confidence in their economic strategy.

It’s Ben Quinn here at the moment at the conference – you can find me on Twitter at @BenQuinn75 if you’d like to flag up any political story we should also be covering today. Andy Sparrow will be coming on deck shortly as well.

You can also follow our colleague Graeme Wearden’s liveblog coverage here of what’s been happening on the markets, where the pound has risen slightly in Asian trading on Tuesday to $1.08 after Monday’s record low of around $1.035.




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