Sunday at the Labour conference: the highs and lows

From John McDonnell’s dismissal of Keir Starmer’s policy paper to being undermined over energy policy, the leader had a rocky day

Quote of the day

“I have read the 11,500 words. We were told it was 14,000 words – so there is 2,500 missing. That must be where the politics was. The rest of it is banality after banality. It really is.” John McDonnell, speaking at a fringe event about Keir Starmer’s policy pamphlet.

Tweet of the day

I have just spent a day at the Labour conference & am on train back

Very depressing. A party in turmoil, basically

— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) September 26, 2021

Debate of the day

Labour’s green policies came under the spotlight, as delegates passed a sweeping motion supporting a green new deal – including nationalisation of energy – just as Starmer made clear on Marr on Sunday that he had no intention of bringing the big six energy firms under state control.

Momentum claimed the vote as a significant victory, underlining the Labour membership’s appetite for radical policies on climate.

The day in a picture

Keir Starmer and the party’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner
Keir Starmer and the party’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, who is understood to have been angered by Starmer for allowing the focus of the conference to drift away from policy because of internal wrangling. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Row of the day

It’s the Sunday of Labour conference and therefore it’s always about rule changes. After a fierce row that dominated the run-up to conference, Starmer pushed through some watered-down reforms of how the party choses its next leader. Momentum said it would mean MPs get “exaggerated weight” in future leadership elections. Starmer says it will turn the party outwards to focus on the public – which is code for: “Let’s ram this through now and then never have this row ever again.”

Tomorrow’s highlights

As Labour moves – it hopes – from the knotty question of rule changes to showing that it is ready to govern Britain, shadow chancellor and close Starmer ally Rachel Reeves will give her big speech, setting out how Labour would combine fiscal responsibility with financing the transition to a green economy.

Conference will also hear from shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds, who has led the fight against the universal credit cut.


Jessica Elgot Chief political correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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