Brighton Rocks


Business first

I'm back from Brighton after an enjoyable time in the sunshine on the seafront. Conference gave me a very warm welcome as one of the few rays of sunshine from May too - it was great to be introduced as one of our election winners and the first Labour winner for the constituency since 1979.

I enjoyed speaking at the ACEVO fringe about the role of charities in social care, social security and health on Sunday - alongside Dan Corry, Tony Lloyd and Hazel Blears. I joined an Alzheimer's Society roundtable to discuss the role of rights in care and support on Monday as well as the National Autistic Society's interview with Fay Hough, the mum of a toddler with autism. She was a powerful advocate for her son, for carers and for the Labour Party and is standing in council elections for Labour so I wish her very well.

On Tuesday I spoke on productivity and the role of skills - in the context of a Government slashing funding for local groups and organisations including Morley College - and at another roundtable with Sense focused on the importance of play for disabled children.


In private meetings, I managed to see One Housing, Riverside and Peabody about the Government's damaging approach to social housing. If the Tory plans go ahead, those three associations stand to lose £173million between them over this parliament alone.

I found one group who will help run a jobs fair in Southwark for me - a bonus as I was keen to get it established next year - and discovered an Axa funding scheme for research that I will be advertising to local universities losing out under the next round of Government cuts to education budgets.

I also met with Scope, Atos, Oxfam, Macmillan, Contact a Family and Parkinson's UK about a range of issues linked to my position on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill committee. Parkinson's UK recorded a short video of me chatting with Elaine, who used to work in SE1, which is online at:  - with a lovely view of the Brighton seafront to boot!

But there are very tough times ahead for disabled people and carers if the Tories don't adjust plans and accept amendments I and Labour colleagues have tabled; the committee starts again after the Tory conference next week.
On the floor

I joined the plenary debates for several speeches, including my new boss, Chris Bryant's, barnstormer on Sunday. His focus on the Tories' damage to UK democracy, Labour's commitment to votes for 16 and 17 year olds, and unity within our Party, across the UK and within the EU went down extremely well with delegates who gave several standing ovations.

Dynamic Southwark

It was a real pleasure to see so many Southwark friends on the coast. So many members attended as delegates, working for MPs, businesses and charities and as councillors. Round every corner seemed to be more local faces - and contributing to policy development in every area across our Party. The dynamism in Southwark Labour's membership is a massive bonus and makes me even prouder to be one of the local MPs.

Oh Brother, where art thou?!

The only bad news from conference was seeing Mr Corbyn. Not Jeremy, obviously. But his brother Piers who was thrown out of the Labour Party some time ago and campaigned against us recently in the nastiest way possible in the run up to May's general election. I've received several complaints from Party members across Southwark that I've relayed to the leader. I hope for reassurance that no rules will be bent or broken to let him back into the Party just because his brother is leader.



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