Labour East Regional Conference took place in Norwich between the 26th and 28th October at the Holiday Inn Norwich – North.
Conference was well attended with a higher proportion of Left delegates than previously and evidence that the trade union delegations were becoming more left leaning.
Over the three days we heard from Tracy Brabin MP who spoke passionately about Early Years and gave support to the campaign against the closure of 46 of the 53 Norfolk Children’s Centres set up under the Sure Start scheme. Margaret Greenwood MP spoke about the Government’s Welfare programme but stopped short of promising to scrap the controversial Universal Credit programme rolled out in Norwich three weeks earlier.
Other MP’s from the region spoke, including Clive Lewis MP for Norwich South, Daniel Zeichner MP for Cambridge, Sandy Martin MP for Ipswich and Mohammad Yasin MP for Bedford.
Motions debated covered the Post Office Network, Building Solidarity with Communities, Firefighters Pay, the closure of Britvic/Unilever in Norwich, Profits before Pupils (Academies), Housing, and Solidarity with exploited workers.
Fringe events included Unite – Low Pay and Insecure Work and the FBU featuring “The Firefighters’ Story – 100 Years of the FBU”.
Momentum Norfolk with CLPD hosted it’s own Fringe event on Saturday evening attended by Ruth Pearson speaking for JVL and Mark Harrison of Social Action Solutions. Ruth gave an insightful talk on the background to the anti-semitism issue and how the many different elements of the Jewish Community view it. Mark spoke about Community organising and how these techniques can be used for Labour Party campaigning.
Many useful discussions took place outside the main conference hall and bridges built between the trade union delegations and the CLP delegations.
David Heywood (Broadland CLP) and JoAnne Rust (NW Norfolk CLP) were elected to the Regional Board to represent Norfolk CLPs and Jasper Haywood (North Norfolk CLP) was elected as regional young members representative.
The first Regional Board meeting takes place on the 1st December being the AGM when the officer posts are “elected”. It’s going to be an interesting year.