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Town Hall leader: ‘It’s time for Tories to get out of the way and let Labour rebuild Britain’

Only a Labour government can make Britain a fairer place for all, says Richard Watts

01 October, 2018

Islington councillors Claudia Webbe, Paul Smith, Richard Watts, Gary Heather, Sara Hyde and Tricia Clarke at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool last week 

Party conference season can sometimes feel like the Westminster bubble going on tour – scripted announcements, journalists seeking a he said/she said row and far too many overpriced drinks in hotel lobbies.

I am pleased to say that this year’s Labour Party conference in Liverpool has been a welcome departure from that tired old format – but, sadly, the drinks are still overpriced.

Under Jeremy Corbyn – first and foremost, our MP for Islington North – this last week has been another bold step towards helping secure a Labour government that is on the side of working people.

We’ve heard more passionate speeches from colleagues from across the country than used to be the case at conference, and we’ve seen party democracy in action – not least with Islington North Constituency Labour Party’s bold motion on delivering new council homes and tackling the housing crisis receiving the support of delegates.

A range of bold new policies has been announced, which build on Labour’s fantastic 2017 general election manifesto.

From better rights for private renters to help for small businesses, Labour is putting forward a real agenda for change that will make a difference in Islington.

I was delighted to hear from our wonderful MP for Islington South and Finsbury, Emily Thornberry, in her role as shadow foreign secretary.

Emily is putting real Labour values at the heart of Labour’s approach to foreign affairs, standing up to injustices no matter where they take place.

In Jeremy’s speech on Wednesday, we heard an inspiring, but credible, vision for a fairer Britain that works for the many not the few.

A future Labour government would help transform our economy into one that empowers working people, ensures fairness by sharing the proceeds of a growing and environmentally sustainable economy and makes a huge difference for working people by building new council homes and delivering free childcare.

Unlike the Tories’ disastrous management of negotiations with the EU, which lurch from crisis to crisis, this week Labour shared a clear strategy to get the best deal for working people.

In Islington, we have worked hard to support local people who are from EU countries, demanding their rights are guaranteed and providing advice and support where we can. It’s for those people, and the future of our economy for all of us, that we need a deal that works.

Sadly, the Tories’ chaotic approach is making that less likely, so I am pleased that Labour is keeping all options on the table.

As I said earlier, party conference season can feel quite removed from the day-to-day life of working people. But this year, thanks to Jeremy’s

leadership, what we have heard in Liverpool will make a real difference to the lives of people in Islington.

It’s time the Tories got out of the way and let Labour, and Jeremy, get on with rebuilding Britain for the many, not the few.

Councillor Richard Watts is leader of Islington Council.

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