Good evening, we are closing this blog now, you can read all our UK politics coverage here.
Keir Starmer has vowed to reinstate the top tax band for people who are paid more than £150,000 a year while keeping the planned cut in the basic rate of income tax, minutes after Andy Burnham, the Labour mayor of Greater Manchester, said both should be restored.
Burnham has said that renationalising the railways should be a “no-brainer” for Labour. At a Guardian fringe event at the conference, he said Labour needed to give voters a clearer idea of what it would do if it won the election. Nationalising the railways was a “no-brainer”, he said. (See 5.54pm.) He also suggested the party should propose rolling out nationally the £2 cap on bus fares he is introducing in Greater Manchester, building more affordable housing, offering social care on NHS terms and prioritising the interests of young people. And he said Labour should include proportional representation in its manifesto. How Britain is governed is not a niche issue but a core issue, he said. Delegates have voted to have a debate on PR. (See 3.34pm.) But, ahead of the vote, Starmer has said he will not put PR in the manifesto.
Liz Truss plans to radically reshape the UK economy with even more tax cuts and fewer regulations, Kwasi Kwarteng, her chancellor, has said, declining to set a limit on how much public debt could be incurred in the process.
Burnham says he would support a change in the voting system. And he would put it in the manifesto.
He says the Tory leadership contest, culminating in the mini-budget, has shown how the political system can be manipulated by a small group of people.
Power was concentrated with 50 to 100 people, he says.
He says he would have PR for the Commons, and replace the Lords with a body representing the region. And then he would have maximum devolution.
What is wrong with working with the Greens and the Lib Dems, he asks.
Q: Why aren’t Labour going for it?
Burnham says people argue it is not a priority for voters. But Labour may have to work with other parties. If you go back 100 years, the Tories have been in power for two-thirds of the time. That is because the system works for them. Why should we give the Tories two-thirds of the next century too, he says.
And he says it is outrageous that people have been put in the House of Lords as donors.
How power works, and is used, is “not a niche issue”, but a core issue, he says.
And that’s it. The Q&A is over.
Burnham says Labour should prioritise policies for young people
Q: What should Labour be saying to young people?
That we will put them first, Burnham says.
He says when Labour was in power, the government put pensioners first. That was even more marked when the coalition took office.
He says as mayor of Greater Manchester he has prioritised spending for young people.
His daughter has to work in a bar in Liverpool while she is making her way through university, he says. He says young people find life harder than when he was young.
He says he does not want to get rid of all tuition fees; he does not think that would be fair on people who do not go to university. But, when you see how young people are treated, they do not get value for the £9,000 they pay in tuition fees.
And access to housing – Burnham says it would be great for Labour to have a solution to the housing crisis.
Turning away from Andy Burnham for a moment, at another fringe event Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, has been joking about the demise of Momentum as an all-powerful force in the party, my colleague Aubrey Allegretti reports. Streeting was referrring, in part, to Momentum’s failure to get one of its preferred motions chosen for debate. (See 3.34pm.)
Burnham says “social care on NHS terms” is a policy whose time has come. He is glad Wes Streeting is pushing for this. He says he pushed for this when he was in the health brief 10 years ago.
He says he does not think Labour wins elections by default. It needs to have a policy offer.
And that should include “public ownership of life’s essentials”. People are ready for it, he says.
The energy policy announced today is good, he says. But the party needs to show how it can get energy bills down now.
Viner is now doing a quickfire round.
Liam or Noel? Both.
Viner does not accept that. Burnham insists on both.
Brown or Blair? Brown.
That gets some applause.
Truss or Kwarteng? Neither.
Avanti or Virgin? Virgin.
Monarchy or republic? Monarchy.
Did you sing the national anthem?
Burnham says he was not in the hall, but singing it was probably the right thing to do.
William or Harry? William.
Mick Lynch or Bet Lynch? Bet.
Burnham says he has to go for a northern icon.
Burnham says his plan for an intergrated transport system is called the Bee Network, after the symbol for Manchester. He says he has a bee tattoo as well.
Burnham says he lives in his old constituency, Leigh. It went Tory at the last election. So he is a “red wall” voter, he says. He cannot see it doing anything other than vote Labour at the next election, he says.
He says his advice to “red wall” Tory MPs is that they have to start denouncing the mini-budget or start clearing their office.
Burnham says the Tories are “running out of road”.
Parties start talking to themselves, he says. That is what happened to Labour at the end of its term of office.
That is why he thinks this could be Labour’s last conference before it forms a government.
Q: Should we stop using the word “woke”? It is just being used to attack people.
Burnham says that is right, but the same applied to the term political correctness.
He says the Tories are losing the support of all young voters with this approach.
Burnham says the right in Britain is using the Donald Trump playbook in trying to ignite culture wars. It is a deliberate strategy, he says. People should stop being drawn into this.
Q: Could you be an MP while continuing as mayor of Greater Manchester?
No, says Burnham. He say Dan Jarvis was able to do that. But he says his position is different. He is a police and crime commissioner.
He says he is not ruling out a return to Westminster.
But he says he also wants to end the impression that Westminster is “the only show in town”.
Q: Why have you not been invited to speak at the conference from the platform?
Burnham says he does not know why. Perhaps they did not have time.
He says the party should be highlighting the achievement of its metro mayors more.
He says he is introducing radical policies. But he has the support of the business community. And he won every ward in Greater Manchester.
Burnham says the £2 fare cap he has introduced for buses in Greater Manchester should be Labour policy across the whole of England.
He says Keir Starmer has put Labour in a position where it can win.
But he says Labour needs policy ideas to sell to people on the doorstep.
Q: What should those ideas be?
Burnham says he has mentioned nationalising the railways. Buses should be under public control. And safe, affordable housing should be a human right, he says.
Burnham says nationalising railways 'a no brainer'
Burnham says in the Tory leadership contest the candidates said they wanted to bring back Thatcherism.
But they are going further, he says. They are borrowing to fund tax cuts for the rich.
They have no evidence this will work. “How can you take a gamble on this scale in a cost of living crisis?” he asks.
He says the 1980s saw the sell-off of life’s essentials, like water, buses, trains. But services have not got better. People are paying more, and the money is going to shareholders and executives.
In Greater Manchester he says he is bringing the buses back under public control from next year.
He says he thinks nationalisation of the railways is a “no-brainer”.
That gets a cheer.
He asks how many people used Avanti to get here. The service is terrible, he says.
He says if you go to day return and get a day return to London, it costs £369. You can get a flight to India for that, he says.
Andy Burnham says he thinks Tories have made 'catastophic political misjudgment' with mini-budget
Andy Burnham is being interviewed by the Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, at a fringe event at the Labour conference.
Asked about the mini-budget, he says he has never seen anything as audacious in his political life, in terms of an attack on working people.
It is utterly immoral, he says.
He says he thinks the Tories have made a “catastrophic political misjudgment”.
PA Media has more from the debate earlier about Labour party rule changes, including a proposed one that would allow Jeremy Corbyn to be a Labour candidate at the next election despite being suspended by the PLP. (See 4.16pm.) PA says:
Rachel Garnham, Mid Bedfordshire CLP, said Labour would be “far better” going into a general election “as a united party rather than attempting to make Jeremy grovel”.
She said: “I feel like as a party we’ve got ourselves into a bit of a mess. Instead of turning our collective fire on this horrendous Westminster government it feels like too much time and energy is sadly going into fighting the left of the party - and we’re not going away.”
She added Labour’s “political enemies” included Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, adding: “Our political enemy is not Jeremy Corbyn.”
Thomas Glasman, of Hackney North and Stoke Newington CLP, said: “The issue at hand on the selection of MPs is not necessarily one of whether you personally like or dislike Jeremy Corbyn or what he stands for. It’s a principle of whether CLPs have a democratic right to select who they wish to have as an MP.”
Samantha Niblett, from Erewash CLP, spoke against the “flawed” proposal before adding: “The public don’t care about our internal arguments.
Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, has said military spending will double from its current level to hit £100bn in 2030 as a result of Liz Truss’s commitment to increase the armed forces’ budget to 3% of GDP, my colleague Dan Sabbagh reports.
Summary of key changes to Labour party rules backed by NEC
Although the Labour leadership is opposing the proposed rule change that would allow Jeremy Corbyn to stand again as a Labour candidate without being a member of the parliamentary Labour party (see 4.16pm), the national executive committee (NEC) is calling for five sets of rule changes to be adopted. Collectively they run to 20 pages.
One change says that if unions or constituency Labour parties (CLPs) want to submit a motion to conference to change the party’s rules, it must be submitted as least a year before the annual conference at which it would be discussed. This has been criticised by the pro-Corbyn group Momentum.
Another change would increase the number of union representatives allowed to sit in the “clause V” meeting that takes place before a general election to decide the party’s manifesto. Currently, when in opposition, the shadow cabinet, the parliamentary committee, Scottish and Welsh leaders, chairs and vice-chairs of the policy forum and eight trade unions members are invited. It is proposed to change this to 11 union members.
Another change would require councillors elected as Labour MPs to resign their council seats on a date agreed with the chief whip, or face disciplinary action.
And the party wants to change the rules to give the NEC a bit more control over the process that kicks in if a candidate needs to be selected quickly for an election. If there is no time for a normal selection, a five-person panel draws up a shortlist. The proposed change makes it clear that it is up to the NEC to decide if not enough time is available for a normal selection. And it would give the NEC new powers to approve the composition of the panel.
Labour will need to compromise to build election-winning coalition, says campaign coordinator Shabana Mahmood
Shabana Mahmood, Labour’s national campaign coordinator, told delegates in her speech to the conference this afternoon that although the party did well in the May local elections, those results would have only delivered 291 seats in a general election. The party has to do better, she said.
And she warned that Labour would not win without compromises and without “uncomfortable” conversations with voters not yet won over. She said:
The road we must travel is long and there are many obstacles. No matter how finely tuned our party machine is, the organisation can’t outrun the politics. The politics has to set the pace.
It is the politics that will win us the next election. Our organisation will not be found wanting but only the politics can build the coalition we need to win.
And this impacts on all of you because I need you to get uncomfortable.
If we are going to build that coalition then we have to talk and listen to the voters who aren’t with us yet. There is no ideological one size fits all. We must have uncomfortable conversations.
We won’t build that coalition without talking, without discomfort and we won’t build it without compromise. That is a dynamic process. Every conversation teaches us something about where we are going, and how far we still have to go.
It goes without saying, of course, that this will be the best Labour conference fringe of the day …
Not letting Corbyn stand as Labour candidate in Islington North would 'disaster' for party, conference told
At the Labour conference, delegates have been debating a whole series of proposed changes to the party’s rulebook. Most of them were relatively minor and technical, but the debate focused to a large extent on the subject of card vote six, a proposal that would allow Jeremy Corbyn to stand again as a candidate at the next election – even thought he has been suspended from the parliamentary Labour party. Corbyn has not been suspended by the party as a whole, and the proposed new rule would remove the requirement for a sitting MP to be a member of the PLP to be reselected.
Proposing the change, Peter Talbot, from Islington North constituency Labour party (CLP), said Corbyn received a majority of more than 34,000 at the last election. He said people living in the constituency could not understand why the local paper describes Corbyn as an independent MP, when he was elected as a Labour MP. He went on:
Islington North is made up of the very mix of people that the Labour party hopes to represent; young and old, black and ethnic minorities, lawyers, teachers, manual workers, council tenants, owner occupiers.
Take a walk down any street, literally any street, in Islington North with Jeremy Corbyn and you will see just how broad his support is.
And if Labour’s going to win the next election, we need to mobilise that wide cross-section of the electorate to vote for us. We need a range of Labour candidates. We need to demonstrate that the Labour party truly is a broad church. And that’s particularly important in relation to the thousands of young people that Jeremy brought into supporting Labour.
Talbot said Corbyn had no desire to be anything other than a Labour MP. But, because of his current suspension, without a change of rules, Corbyn would not be candidate at the next election. Talbot went on:
If we don’t change the rules and Jeremy can’t stand for Labour at the next election, well that would just be a disaster for us frankly, it would not end well. It would be a gift to the Greens, to the Lib Dems and the Tories.
Other delegates backed the proposed pro-Corbyn rule change, although there was much less support for him in the hall than in the days when he was party leader and “Corbynmania” was sweeping the party.
Winding up the debate on behalf of the national executive committee, Michael Wheeler, vice-chair of the NEC’s organisation sub-committee, said card vote six would create a legal risk for the party. He explained:
The rule change represents a significant legal risk to the party. In order to successfully defend legal claims, the party must be able to show that it is applying its rules consistently and fairly.
Changing the fundamental rules midway through a parliamentary selection cycle leaves the party open to legal challenge for candidates that may be put at a disadvantage.
There are historic examples of MPs that have had the parliamentary whip withdrawn but did not have their membership rights suspended, including sexual harassment cases and other serious cases of misogyny and abuse. The party has reformed its processes, but this rule change runs the risk of undermining all of that.
Wheeler did not address the merits or otherwise of Corbyn being a candidate for the party at the next election.
Voting on all the proposed constitutional changes was by card vote, which means the results will be announced later today or tomorrow.
From the journalist and campaigner Paul Mason:
In the conference hall, Sophia James, chief scrutineer at the conference, has just read out the results of the ballot for the motions to be debated in the slots set aside for contemporary issues. As my colleague Jessica Elgot reports, a motion backed by Momentum saying Labour MPs should be able to join picket lines has not been selected.
The topics selected for debate by CLPs are: health, social care, the climate crisis, violence against women and girls, and electoral reform. (There should be one more, but it was left out when the list was read out.) And the topics selected for debate by the unions are: public services and local government funding, equalities, workers’ pay, Ukraine, the growing challenges of our economy, and investing in our infrastructure and workforce.
UPDATE: The final topic chosen by CLPs was early years and childcare.
Truss says she wants to make special relationship with US 'even more special'
In an interview with CNN’s State of the Union programme, broadcast this morning in the US, Liz Truss said she wanted to make the special relationship with Washington even more special. She said:
I do think our relationship is special and it’s increasingly important at a time when we’re facing threats from Russia, increased assertiveness from China. I’m determined that we make the special relationship even more special over the coming years.
Boris Johnson, Truss’s predecessor, tried to avoid using the term special relationship because he thought it made the UK sound needy.
At the same Labour First rally, Jonathan Reynolds, the shadow business secretary, claimed that clear dividing lines between Labour and the Conservatives were back. He said:
I’ve got a simple message for you today, and it’s that politics is back, the clear dividing lines between us and the Tories are back, and I for one say we should relish that, and not shrink from the fight …
Just look at what they’re putting forward as a solution - it’s tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts to employment rights, fracking, Jacob Rees-Mogg.
It’s hopeless and it’s wrong, but most of all we know it won’t work. And it’s the same old, trickle-down bullshit, quite frankly, and I for one am sick of it.
Labour delegates at this conference may be more hopeful of winning the next election than at any time for a decade. Under Ed Miliband, the party had opinion poll leads over the Tories at least as big as those that Keir Starmer enjoys now, or bigger, but Miliband’s Labour always struggled on leadership and economic competence (the two most important metrics). And Miliband’s team viewed David Cameron and George Osborne as formidable opponents. Starmer and his colleagues don’t seem have have the same regard for Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng.
The Savanta ComRes polling will reinforce this optimism. (See 2.47pm.) And Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, reflected the mood at the conference at the Labour First rally when he said he could “see the victory line right in front of us”. He added: “I have never felt a weight on my shoulders as I do at this conference.”
Labour on course for majority of 56, MRP poll suggests
Labour is currently on course to win a majority of 56 in the next election, new polling suggests.
The polling is from Savanta ComRes. And, significantly, the 56-seat majority projection is based on an MRP (multilevel regression and post-stratification) analysis. MRP involves polling the public and then trying to project what that would mean on a seat-by-seat basis by taking the polling data for particularly demographic groups and cross-referencing that against the demographic profile of every constituency in Britain.
Ever since 2017, when a YouGov MRP poll predicted a hung parliament while all conventional polling pointed to a Tory majority, MRP polls have been seen as particularly good guides to election outcomes.
Here is how Savanta ComRes summarises its findings.
The MRP model, conducted in conjunction with Electoral Calculus, shows Labour (45%) with a 12pt lead over the Conservatives (33%) in Great Britain, generating a commanding majority if such a result were to play out at the next election.
The model suggested that, with such a lead, Labour would regain many so-called ‘Red Wall’ seats – constituencies traditionally considered to be safe Labour seats but many of which returned Conservative MPs at the last election – including Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Blyth Valley, Sedgefield and Workington.
The seat-by-seat analysis also showed Labour taking seats held by prominent Tories MPs, including those that were thought to have considered leadership bids in Steve Baker (Wycombe) and Ben Wallace (Wyre and Preston North), and the former prime minister, Boris Johnson (Uxbridge and South Ruislip).
However, the polling did show some traditional bellwether constituencies - those that tend to indicate the winner of an election - not going Labour’s way, with the Conservatives holding Dartford, Portsmouth North, Nuneaton and Great Yarmouth.
The headline figures show Labour on 45%, the Conservatives on 33%, the Lib Dems on 10%, the Greens on 4% and Reform 3%.
The MRP analysis suggests that in the 357 seats held by the Tories, voters in 279 of them trust Labour more on cost of living issues. But Keir Starmer only beats Liz Truss on the “best PM” measure in 53 of those 357 seats.
Chris Hopkins, the political research director at the polling firm, said only a modest Tory recovery could end the prospect of Labour winning an outright majority. He explains:
This MRP model highlights both the potential and precarious nature of Labour’s polling lead at the moment. Many traditional polls, and this MRP model, show Labour enjoying double-digit leads over the Conservative party, but one percentage point either way could be the difference between a sizeable Labour majority, a small Labour majority or no majority at all.
While this model gives Labour a 56-seat majority with a 12-point lead over the Conservatives, a one-point swing the other way could reduce that majority considerably, and any bigger swing back towards Liz Truss’s party could deprive Labour of a majority at all, even if their national vote share trumps the Conservative figure by eight to nine points.
These are from my colleague Peter Walker, who has been at a lunchtime fringe with Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, and Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London.
Dodds says next Labour government will match record of last one in advancing equality
Anneliese Dodds is chair of the Labour party but also shadow secretary of state for women and equalities, and in her speech to the conference this morning she focused largely on the latter role. She told delegates:
The last Labour government did more to advance equality than any other in British history. The next will match that record – and we will start with the economy.
We will act to eradicate gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps.
We will bring in strong family-friendly rights.
We will measure what we do and be accountable for it – equality impact assessing every budget.
And we’ll always – always – treat the British people with dignity and respect …
Respect means equalising the law so that all forms of hate crime are treated as aggravated offences.
Respect means modernising the Gender Recognition Act and upholding the Equality Act, including its provision for single-sex exemptions.
Respect means banning all forms of conversion therapy outright while making sure that doesn’t cover psychological support and treatment. Because unlike the Tories, we will never hide behind strawman arguments to avoid doing what’s right.
Respect means working with disabled people, not against them – ending cruel disability assessments and supporting disabled people to live the lives they want and deserve.
And respect means tackling the epidemic of violence against women and girls – with specialist rape units in every police force area, minimum sentences for rape and stalking, and making misogyny a hate crime.
Ken Clarke slams Kwarteng's mini-budget as like something 'usually tried in Latin American countries without success'
Ken Clarke, the former chancellor and a Conservative peer, has condemned the mini-budget as the sort of plan “usually tried in Latin American countries without success”. In an interview on Radio 4’s The World This Weekend, he also said he was expecting a serious recession this winter.
I don’t accept – I never have, the Conservative party never has – the overall premise of the budget, which is that you make tax cuts for the wealthiest 5%, and it makes them work so much harder, and [there’s a] rush to invest. I’m afraid that’s the kind of thing that’s usually tried in Latin American countries without success.
I do not think you stimulate growth by cutting taxes on the better-off, or taxes on business. If it was so simple, we would have got rid of taxes all together some time ago.
What the increased spending power … is going to do is run the risk of further stimulating inflation. And we’re going into a serious inflationary recession this winter.
He also said there was nothing Thatcherite about what Liz Truss was doing.
We’re going into over 100% debt [of GDP]. We’re heading in the Italian direction. That is going to be a problem, a very great problem, in the short term if it leads to a collapse in the pound and the loss of confidence in our economy. We’re going to drive investment away, not attract it.
I don’t think anybody I was ever in government with would have contemplated a budget like this.
Peter Mandelson, the former Blairite cabinet minister, told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday this morning that the mini-budget had created an opportunity for Labour. He explained:
Liz Truss, in effect, and the Conservatives, in effect, are taking their own policy direction off the centre ground, the middle ground of British politics. Now that creates an opportunity for Labour to occupy that centre ground. That’s where the swathe of voters exist in the country who are going to determine the outcome of the next election and they are focused both on economic competence and fairness and social justice. Those are the two sides of the coin – the policy coin, the political coin – that the broad mass of voters right across the centre ground of British politics are focused on. That’s what they want to vote for and that’s what Labour needs to offer.
Lord Mandelson also said he speaks to Keir Starmer and his team “from time to time”, but he said he did not advise Starmer in the way he used to advise Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and Neil Kinnock earlier.
On Wednesday the Labour confererence is due to hear a fraternal address from an international speaker. Tom Harwood from GB News may have the name. He posted this on Twitter earlier, before the conference proceedings got under way.
A Labour government would force perpetrators of domestic violence to be included on a register, like sex offenders, PA Media reports.
Shadow justice secretary Steve Reed said the plan would help tackle an “epidemic of violence” against women and girls.
The domestic abuse register would mean those convicted of serial offences and stalking would have to give personal information to the police and notify of any change in circumstances.
The register would allow for better police and law enforcement monitoring of perpetrators and help to identify offending patterns more quickly.
Reed said: “Under the Conservatives, criminals are repeatedly let off while victims are being let down. Labour will get a grip of the Tories’ failure to tackle the epidemic of violence against women and girls – with improved monitoring of domestic abuse perpetrators, longer jail terms for rapists, and more rights for victims.”
Unison general secretary says it does not matter whether Labour figures join picket lines
Christina McAnea, general secretary of Unison, the UK’s biggest union, has defended Keir Starmer in the ongoing row about whether he was right tell Labour frontbenchers not to join RMT picket lines as the union started strike action earlier this year.
Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, McAnea said it did not matter where Labour figures were on picket lines. What mattered was having a Labour government in office, she said: She told Ridge:
I don’t think it makes a difference whether Labour is on picket lines or not.
Labour is there to, I think, hopefully work with us and I think if there’s a Labour government in place, I would hope that we wouldn’t be just about to ballot 400,000 NHS workers by the end of this year.
I would hope that they would talk to us. I wrote to Liz Truss the day she got elected and congratulated her and said we’d be happy to work with her but they obviously see unions as part of the problem.
In his interview this morning with Laura Kuenssberg, asked if Labour should be backing unions in strike disputes, Starmer replied:
My job as leader of the Labour party is not the same job as the leader of a trade union. My job is to make sure that we get the Labour party from opposition, where we can just say things but not do things, into power, where we can do things.
David Evans, Labour’s general secretary, told the conference in his speech that when he was appointed in 2020 “some confided that they doubted we would ever win again”. But now the party has “a real chance to do something never done before and turn a defeat of that scale [the 2019 result – 163 seats behind the Tories] into a victory in a single term”, he said.
As the New Statesman’s Freddie Hayward points out, help was available for any Labour delegates who did not know the words of the national anthem.
And here is Rayner’s peroration.
Our plan for Britain means we’ll rise to the occasion - just as we did in 1997.
Because the Conservatives have made their choice. They’ve chosen their side. But we are on yours.
And are ready to lead this country to better.
A Labour government to unite this country through the dark times ahead. A Labour government to hand power back to the people and the places that once powered Britain. And a Labour government that will always be on the side of working people.
The Tories have broken Britain - but together we’ll rebuild it again.
Rayner says Labour would establish fair work standard setting benchmark for employment conditions
Rayner says Labour would establish a fair work standard for the public sector.
Building on our new deal for working people, I can today unveil Labour’s fair work standard.
Inspired by Labour in power across the country - in Wales, in London, West Yorkshire, the North of Tyne, Greater Manchester and here in Liverpool,
It will underpin a new fair work code for the public sector, guaranteeing fair conditions, job security, wellbeing, proper training, rights at work, and union access.
It will also apply to the private sector, she says.
We will also create a fair work gold standard to champion the very best of employers.
And a Labour government will be on the side of the self-employed too.
We will give genuinely self-employed workers the right to a written contract and timely payment by law – so they aren’t left out of pocket and chasing invoices. Because our fair work standard will raise standards for all.
Rayner says Labour would only allow outsourcing if public bodies can show work could not be done better in-house
Rayner is now addressing outsourcing.
Conference, the Tories have become too dependent on handing away our public services on the cheap, and now we are paying the price.
We will oversee the biggest wave of insourcing for a generation.
Today I can announce that before any service is contracted out, public bodies must show that work could not be better done in-house.
And we’ll reinstate and strengthen the two-tier code, created by the last Labour government and scrapped by the Tories, to end the scandal of outsourced workers getting second class pay and conditions.
Rayner confirms a plan to reform government procurment rules that was briefed to the media before conference started. LabourList has a good summary. She described it as a value for money guarantee.
Rayner says Labour is on the side of the people.
And so, I ask Liz Truss today – whose side are you on?
When you boost bankers’ bonuses but force working people to carry the can for the energy crisis, whose side are you on?
Using a pandemic to pile billions into the bank accounts of cronies while nurses wore bin bags. Whose side are you on?
When you say the working people of this country need more graft then deprive them of fair pay. Whose side are you on?
Conference, I’ll tell you who was on my side when I needed it.
A Labour government was on my side when I had my first baby and had nowhere else to turn.
A Labour government was on my side when I didn’t have a home – let alone enough money to heat it.
A Labour government was on my side when I wanted to be a good mum to my kids and improve their lives. And I promise you now, that when I am deputy prime minister a Labour government will be on your side.
Rayner says the Tories will undermine workers’ rights, while Labour will defend them. She says:
Be in no doubt - they are coming after the most basic things we expect.
Decent work, fair pay. The foundations of a family life.
Conference, so long as I have a breath left in my body I will defend those rights.
Including the right to strike.
And when in power we will repeal all the anti-worker and anti- trade union laws this Conservative government has enacted. All of it.
Rayner says Tory record is 'catalogue of sleaze, waste and lies'
Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader, is addressing the conference now.,
She also starts with a tribute to the late Queen.
And then the tone shifts sharply as she attacks the Tories, saying their record is “a catalogue of sleaze, waste and lies”.
Just look at this government’s record since we last gathered in Liverpool just four years ago. Three different leaders, a catalogue of sleaze, waste and lies, Cummings, Paterson and Pincher backed to the hilt.
Chris Grayling. Grant Shapps. And too much Matt Hancock. Far too much Matt Hancock.
Green Cards and Non-Doms, treehouses and even Tractor Porn.
Breaking the law - in a specific and limited way.
Queues at the airports. Chaos at the borders.
Mountains of PPE unfit for use. Billions in fraud written off.
Sewage in the rivers. A Prime Minister hiding in a fridge.
Three sleaze watchdogs out in the cold.
The Barnard Castle eye test.
The Downing Street crime scene.
Broken swings, wine stains, sick on the walls.
126 fines - more than anywhere else in the UK.
Rules made. Rules Broken.
Partygate. Wallpapergate. Too many gates. Too little, too late mate.
And now a prime minister who says people don’t work hard enough.
Well, enough is enough.
Starmer pays tribute to late Queen as someone who embodied 'value of service'
In his speech at the opening of the conference Keir Starmer paid tribute to the late Queen as someone who embodied “the value of service”. Here is an extract from his speech.
Hardly any of us have ever known anything else. For us, the late Queen has always been simply the Queen, the only Queen. Above all else, our Queen. And I am proud to lead our party’s tribute to her today.
Because our Queen’s devotion to Britain was underpinned by one crucial understanding - she knew that the country she came to symbolise is bigger than any one individual or institution.
Between the history we cherish and the present we own she was the thread. A reminder that our generational battle against the evil of fascism and the emergence of a new Britain out of the rubble of the second world war don’t belong only to the past but are the inheritance of each and every one of us.
An example that taught us that whatever challenges we face, the value of service endures. And a reminder that the creativity, the hard work, the enterprise that defines this nation is as abundant now as it ever was.
One line in Starmer’s speech seems to have been inspired by Emmanuel Macron’s much-praised tribute.
Summary of Kwarteng's BBC interview about mini-budget
Here are the main points from Kwasi Kwarteng’s interview with Laura Kuenssberg.
Kwarteng, the chancellor, hinted that he wants to follow Friday’s mini-budget with further tax cuts. He said:
Looking at the Friday statement, we’ve actually put more money into people’s pockets. That’s why we reversed the national insurance increase, which I think was not a good policy and we’ve reversed that. And also we’re bringing forward the cut in the basic rate. And there’s more to come.
We’ve only been here 19 days. I want to see it over the next year people retain more of their income.
This is a line that has also been briefed to several Sunday newspapers. See 10.04am.
He rejected claims that the mini-budget overwhelmingly favoured the rich, saying it favoured people right across the income scale. (See 9.52am.)
In fact, by any reasonable definition, the mini-budget does overwhelmingly favour the rich.
He claimed government plans to relax planning laws would not weaken environmental protections. He said:
We are not going to relax environmental rules at all. What the prime minister and I have focused on is the process. Too often in this country there’s the process just takes too long. That doesn’t mean that you change the standards. But the actual process of the paperwork and actually getting consents is taking too long. And that is an obstacle to growth.
Kwarteng and his colleagues face a tough battle on this front. Today Hilary McGrady, director general of the National Trust (a body that has more than 5 million members – more than five time as many as all the UK political parties combined) has today released a statement saying the investment zones promised in the mini-budget represent “a free-for-all for nature and heritage”.
He said the government was still committed to reducing debt as a proportion of GDP. He said:
I will be setting out plans for the medium-term fiscal plan, as we are calling it, that will show that we are committed to net debt to GDP to be falling over time.
He sidestepped a question about whether the government would abandon the rules limiting the ability of bosses to ask staff to work longer hours. He said as business secretary he had shown a commitment to workers’ rights, but he said ministerial colleagues would be making further statements about government plans in the coming weeks.
He claimed he was not worried about the pound falling after he delivered his mini-statement. When it was put to him that he must have been worried about it, he replied:
I’ve been focused on the longer term and the medium term, and I think it was absolutely necessary that we had a long-term growth plan.
What was unacceptable and unsustainable was the idea that we were going to have a 70-year tax high … and that we could continue simply raising taxes.
He said the home secretary, Suella Braverman, would be making a statement about immigration policy. But he dismissed claims (see 10.04am) that immigration policy was being relaxed. He said:
It’s not about relaxing the rules. The whole point about the Brexit debate, if we want to go down there, is that we need to control immigration in a way that works for the UK.
My colleague Jessica Elgot has some video of Labour delegates singing God Save the King.
One person who may have given the national anthem a miss was Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader, who told Nick Robinson’s Political Thinking podcast this week that he thought it was “very odd” for it to be sung at conference.
The conference has just sung God Save the King. A soloist was leading, and the microphone mostly picked up her voice, so it is hard from watching on the monitor to work out with quite what level of gusto delegates were singing.
At the Labour conference Keir Starmer opened the event with a speech paying tribute to the Queen.
Delegates are now standing for one minute’s silence in her honour.
Kwarteng fails to deny that PM's chief of staff Mark Fullbrook being paid via his lobbying company
At the the end of his interview with Laura Kuenssberg, Kwasi Kwarteng, the chancellor, was asked if Mark Fullbrook was being paid through a lobbying company, as the Sunday Times reports. (See 10.04am.) Kwarteng said he did not know anything about Fullbrook’s employment arrangments, but he did not deny the story.
He also said Fullbrook was “a great professional”, “someone who has enhanced our government” and “a great person to work with”.
Here are some of the Tory stories in today’s papers.
Caroline Wheeler and Harry Yorke in the Sunday Times say Liz Truss wants to increase immigration as part of her drive to boost growth. They say:
The prime minister is pushing for wide-ranging reform of Britain’s visa system to tackle acute labour shortages and attract the best talent from across the world.
In the coming weeks she intends to raise the cap on seasonal agricultural workers and make changes to the shortage occupations list, which will allow key sectors to recruit more overseas staff.
Truss has told colleagues that she is keen to recruit overseas broadband engineers to support the government’s pledge to make full-fibre broadband available to 85 per cent of UK homes by 2025. It has also been suggested that she could ease the English-language requirement in some sectors to enable more foreign workers to qualify for visas.
However, the proposed easing of immigration restrictions faces strong resistance from cabinet Brexiteers, including Suella Braverman, the home secretary, and Kemi Badenoch, the trade secretary. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the business secretary, has told colleagues he would support the changes only if they were shown to increase GDP per capita.
Tony Diver, Richard Evans and Will Hazell in the Sunday Telegraph says Liz Truss is planning further tax cuts in the new year.
Liz Truss is planning to continue her tax-cutting spree in a new year Budget that will include further reductions in income tax, and discounts for savers and child benefit claimants.
Treasury officials are drawing up a list of “pinch points” that discourage people from earning more money by imposing high rates of tax on extra earnings, as part of a wholesale review of the tax system.
Up to 1.6 million savers could benefit from a review of the lifetime and annual allowances on pension pots, which currently can encourage employees to take early retirement to avoid the “tax trap”.
Gabrie Pogrund in the Sunday Times says Mark Fullbrook, Truss’s chief of staff, is is being paid through his lobbying company in a highly unusual arrangement that could allow him to pay less tax. Pogrund says:
Mark Fullbrook insists he is not being paid through his company for tax reasons and has obtained no tax benefit from the arrangement. However, he is refusing to explain the agreement that lets him direct government strategy without being directly employed by the government.
Previous holders of the role have been treated like any other special adviser (Spad), appointed on a temporary civil service contract and paid a salary that is made public. Fullbrook is instead a contractor and will receive any payment through Fullbrook Strategies, a private lobbying company he created in April but which he says has suspended commercial activities.
Q: What you are offering is not what Tory supporters voted for in 2019. And Liz Truss was elected by just a small group of people.
Kwarteng says the government has a duty to promote economic growth. At the end of the parliament, it will go to voters and defend its record.
Q: Would you relax immigration rules?
Kwarteng says it is not about relaxing immigration rules. Under Brexit, the government can control immigration.
Q: Would you get rid of the working time directive?
Kwarteng says he is here to talk about what he announced on Friday. His colleagues will be making other announcements in the coming weeks.
Q: What about relaxing environmental protections to allow more houses to be built?
Kwarteng says the government does want to speed up the planning process.
Q: Your tax cuts overwhelmingly favour people at the top?
Kwarteng says they favour people across the income scale.
Q: But only people who earn more than £155,000 will be net beneficiaries?
That is not true, says Kwarteng.
Q: It is the net figure looking at changes since 2019?
Kwarteng says if you just look at the measures from Friday, that is not the case.
He says the Liz Truss government has just been in office for 19 days.
Kwarteng says government will remain committed to debt falling as proportion of GDP over time
Q: Your energy package will cost £120bn a year. Will you just continue with that?
Kwarteng says he said it would cost £60bn for six months. You cannot assume that means £120bn a year, he says.
He suggests gas prices could go down in the future.
Q: What is the limit on borrowing?
Kwarteng says the government has responded to two exogenous shocks. That was the right thing to do.
He says he will be setting out a medium-term fiscal plan that will show the government to net debt as a proportion of GDP falling over time.
Q: Are you not worried your tax cuts will be inflationary? The Bank of England is worried about this.
Kwarteng says the Bank does not work in isolation. He will see the governor twice a week.
But the Bank is independent, he stresses.
Q: Are you worried about how inflation is eating away at people’s wages?
Kwarteng says you cannot deal with the cost of living crisis by taking more money from people in tax.
Kwasi Kwarteng interviewed by Laura Kuenssberg
Kwasi Kwarteng, the chancellor, is now being interviewed by Laura Kuenssberg.
Q: The pound fell to its lowest level for years after your statement, and the cost of government borrowing went up. Are you worried about the reaction?
Kwarteng says he is focused on growing the economy. That is what the statement was all about.
If he can get business back on its feet, “we can get this country moving”.
Q: But you must have been nervous?
Kwarteng says he is focused on the medium term and the long term.
What was unsustainable was having tax at a 70-year high.
Q: Liz Truss says she is prepared to take unpopular decisions. What would you be willing do do that is unpopular?
Starmer says he has been willing to do that in the Labour party. He says he has “taken the Labour party, picked it up off the canvas, put it back on its feet, changed the party and made it face the public”. He cites the internal party changes agreed last year as an example.
Starmer says Labour has gone from 'hope' to 'belief' it will form next government
Q: Are voters who went to the Tories in 2019 coming back to you?
Starmer says he does see signs of that happening.
It was happening in the local elections.
But he is not complacent, he says. The party needs to do much more.
But we heading in the right direction? Yes.
Starmer says the hope for a Labour government in the party has turned into a belief that there will be a Labour government.
Something has happened in the Labour party this year, which is the hope of a Labour government has turned into a belief in a Labour government.
That change, that switch, is worth its weight in gold.
If you consider where we were in 2019, to now be in a position where there’s a belief that Labour will win the next general election is real progress for our party.
Starmer confirms Labour could keep basic rate income tax cut to 19%, but reinstate 45% top rate
Q: In government would you reinstate the 45% rate of tax?
Yes, says Starmer. He says he would reverse the decision the government took on Friday. He is “absolutely clear” on that.
Q: And would you reverse the basic rate tax cut to 19%?
Starmer says he would not reverse that. He goes on:
I’ve long made the argument that we should reduce the tax burden on working people. That’s why we opposed the national insurance increase earlier this year, which of course the government is now reversing.
Starmer says best thing he can do for workers striking for higher pay is secure Labour election victory
Q: Should people be able to expect pay to rise in line with inflation?
Starmer says of course people want their wages to go up.
Prices are going up. It is understandable that people want wages to match.
He says Labour would asks the Low Pay Commission to consider the cost of living, as well as average wages, when setting the living wage.
He says it is reasonable for unions to want to negotiate a pay rise. It is not for him to decide what the should be asking for.
Q: Do you back people going on strike if they do not get the pay rises they want?
Starmer says people go on strike as a last resort. He supports their right to go on strike.
But he wants to see strikes resolved.
Q: So why are you not supporting strikers?
Kuenssberg plays a clip of workers at Peel Ports in Liverpool saying Starmer should be taking their side.
Starmer says the most important thing he can do for people on strike is usher in a Labour government.
A Labour government would legislate for fair ways to settle these disputes.
Starmer is now talking about the energy plan announced overnight. (See 8.24am.)
He says he wants to make the UK less reliable on foreign energy.
But on Friday wind generation was operating at 15% of capacity because it was not windy. Don’t you need fossil fuels as a backup.
Starmer says of course it is going to be difficult.
He says fossil fuels might be needed as a fallback. But he thinks electricity can be generated by clean energy by 2030.
Starmer says two million homes would have be insulated if the government had set up a proper insulation scheme when Labour called for one.
He says he has visited homes insulated under schemes like this. Their bills are practically nothing.
Keir Starmer interviewed by Laura Kuenssberg
Keir Starmer is being interviewed by Laura Kuenssberg.
He says the mini-budget was “very risky”, and driven by a “wrong-headed” argument that giving money to the rich would lead to it trickling down.
Q: The govenrment says it will freeze energy bills for two years. Would you do that?
Starmer says his proposal is for six months.
He says Labour committed to this before the government announced its plan.
In April Labour will look at what the situation is.
Q: Don’t people need certainty now?
Starmer says people also need to know who will pay for it. When they learn the energy companies are making excess profits of £170bn, and the government is not taxing them, they back a windfall tax.
Burnham says mini-budget was 'flagrant act of vandalism on social cohesion of this country'
In his interview with Sky’s Sophy Ridge, Andy Burnham said he could barely believe the mini-budget. People in Greater Manchester were cutting back on food because they can barely afford to eat, he said. And the Tories were cutting taxes for the rich.
He said the mini-budget was “a flagrant act of vandalism on the social cohesion of this country”.
Labour would not reverse cut in basic rate of income tax to 19%, Miliband says
Q: Does Labour support cutting the 45% top rate of income tax?
Miliband says that cutting the 45% rate is the wrong thing to do.
We’re going to be consistent in our election manifesto with our opposition to the 45p tax cut. We think it is the wrong thing to do for the country.
Q: What about cutting the basic rate to 19p in the pound?
No, we don’t think that should be reversed. Remember, we are talking about this basic rate cut. People start paying that at £12,500.
Q: So you disagree with Andy Burnham?
Miliband says he does not think that tax cut should be reversed. “We won’t be reversing that, no.”
Miliband says Labour will be announcing a series of policies that would promote growth.
The Tories want to promote growth through tax cuts for the rich. Labour says growth has to be built from the ground up.
Q: But tax cuts can promote growth?
Miliband does not accept this. He says the IMF – “hardly a group of loony lefties” – says increasing the incomes of the wealthiest does not lead to high growth. In fact, it says the opposite, he says.
Ed Miliband is being interviewed by Sophy Ridge now.
He says 10 years ago he would have argued for green energy on the grounds it was the ethical choice.
Now he is arguing for it as the ethical choice and the economic choice.
Q: If you were focusing on affordability, you would want to increase extraction from the North Sea, wouldn’t you?
Miliband does not accept that. He says the price of gas is set globally. He says the UK has to use North Sea gas.
But fracking, or a dash for gas, won’t bring down the price of gas, he says.
Burnham says, as he has become more experienced as a politician, he has “stopped speaking in code”.
He says that approach would be a “helpful blast of reality” at Westminster.
Q: If you stood for the leadership, would you be able to campaign better now than last time.
Burnham reminds Ridge he lost a leadership contest not just once, but twice.
But he says he thinks he is a better politician now.
The interview is now over.
Q: Are you tempted to return to Westminster? There will be a byelection in West Lancashire.
Burnham says he has committed to serve a full second term as mayor of Greater Manchester. But he would not rule out returning after that.
Burnham says Labour should back electoral reform
Burnham says he would go as far as to call the mini-budget “immoral”.
He is supporting Keir Starmer, he says. Labour has a sustained and clear lead in the polls. That is a significant achievement, he says.
He says he is disappointed to hear Starmer rule out electoral reform. Starmer should listen to the mood of conference on this. (Delegates may well pass a motion calling for proportional representation.) He says what happened over the summer, with the Tory leadership, illustrated the need for electoral reform.
Burnham says this is the first party conference since 2010 when it has been more likely than not that Labour will form a government in the next one or two years.
Q: So should Labour commit to reversing the 1p in the pound cut in income tax, and the abolition of the 45% rate?
Burnham says he is saying that. He thinks this is not the time for tax cuts.
But he says that does not mean Labour should not be putting money in people’s pockets.
Burnham says Labour should commit to reversing tax cuts in mini-budget
Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, is being interviewed on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
Q: Should Labour commit to reversing those tax cuts?
Burnham says this was not a time for tax cuts.
Q: Should Labour commit to reversing them?
Burnham says he thinks he answered this.
Q: So should they commit to reversing them?
“They should,”, says Burham.
Keir Starmer says Labour would deliver zero-carbon electricity system by 2030 as party conference opens
Good morning. The Labour party conference opens in Liverpool this morning. The conference slogan is “A Fairer, Greener Future” and the party is fleshing that out this morning with the release of a plan for clean power by 2030. My Observer colleagues Toby Helm, Andrew Rawnsley and Phillip Inman have the details here.
[Keir] Starmer says the move – far more ambitious than any green policy advanced by the Tories and the most far-reaching of his leadership so far – would release the British people from the mercy of “dictators” such as Russian president Vladimir Putin over energy bills.
It would also, he says, cut hundreds of pounds off annual household energy bills “for good”, create up to half a million UK jobs, and make this country the first to have a zero-emission power system …
The idea at its core is to build a self-sufficient power system run entirely by cheap, homegrown renewables and nuclear, by the end of the decade. This, they argue, would also allow the country to become a major energy exporter.
In its briefing on the plan Labour says it wants to deliver a zero-carbon electricity system by 2030. It says it would:
1) Cut energy bills for good, saving UK households £93bn over the rest of this decade; or a saving of £475 per household every year until 2030.
2) Make the UK energy independent, freeing the UK from being exposed to the fluctuations of the global gas market, which has been too-easily manipulated by Vladimir Putin and petrostates.
3) Reindustrialise the UK, supporting the creation of over 200,000 direct jobs and up to 260,000-300,000 indirect jobs over the decade.
4) Tackle the climate crisis to leave a better world for our children by making the UK the first major economy to have a zero-emission power system.
Normally the main political parties observer an unofficial non-aggression pact during party conference season, and while the Labour conference is on, the Tories stay relatively quiet, and vice versa. But this week is likely to be different, because politics is still reeling from the impact of the mini-budget on Friday and there is a lot of Conservative party news in the papers. The Tories have been briefing about further tax cuts being likely next year, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the chancellor, will be on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg. His comments could overshadow what Starmer has to say.
Here is the agenda for the day.
8.30am: Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, and Ed Miliband, the shadow secretary for climate change and net zero, are interviewed on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
9am: Kwasi Kwarteng, the chancellor, and Keir Starmer, the Labour leader are interviewed on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuensseberg.
10.45am: The Labour conference opens with a tribute to the Queen from Keir Starmer, followed by delegates singing the national anthem..
11.25am: Angela Rayner, the deputy Lablour leader, speaks.
11.40am: David Evans, the general secretary, speaks.
11.50am: Anneliese Dodds, the party chair, speaks.
2.15pm: Delegates debate constitutional amendments.
I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.
If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.
Alternatively, you can email me at email@example.com