60 Seconds: Labour Party Conference



People watching at this week’s Labour Party Conference from outside, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Brighton sea air has enthused every visiting Labour Party member to the point where they have lost touch with reality. Some of this year’s ‘highlights’ have included Unite boss Len McCluskey’s insistence that the Party won this June’s General Election, BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg being forced to hire a bodyguard to protect herself from angry Corbyn supporters, and a besotted Corbynista parading a hand-painted icon of his saviour bedecked by tinsel and fairy lights around the conference floor.

All of this obscures the fact that the remnants of a rather different, more sober pre-Corbyn Labour Party is also meeting in Brighton this week. Moderate Labour councillors and MPs have not disappeared. At the same time as a speaker at a fringe event was arguing that the Holocaust was a legitimate topic for debate, in the next door room the Leader of Greenwich Council and the Deputy Mayor of Newham were celebrating the contribution of businesses and developers to the regeneration of East London.

The Labour Party in London is currently selecting its candidates for council elections next May and, with a few significant exceptions, it appears Labour moderates will continue to dominate London local government for the coming years. That’s good news for developers as most London councils will continue to be led by pragmatic politicians who are positive about regeneration. But this conference has demonstrated that Jeremy Corbyn is totally secure in his leadership of the party, meaning Labour councillors will be in uneasy coexistence with a membership far to their left for the foreseeable future. This membership is suspicious of regeneration, critical of compromise and downright hostile to private developers and housing associations. More than ever, moderate Labour councillors will have to demonstrate that their pragmatism is delivering sufficient numbers of homes at social rents in order to placate the party membership that they are ultimately answerable to.

Have a good week,


Curtin&Co Account Manager Mark Harrison is our London Labour Party specialist. He was a Lambeth councillor from 2009-2014, and continues to be an active Labour Party member.

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