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18/10/2016

R3 at Labour Party Conference

There was uncertainty if the 2016 Annual Labour Party Conference would go ahead given the failure to confirm security. But just one month ahead of the event, it was all confirmed and the Labour Party Conference went ahead as usual and with Jeremy Corbyn remaining at the helm.

The conference took place this year in Liverpool: a fantastic city with the event staged in a modern, large conference centre on the Mersey. There were reports ahead of conference that many MPs, corporates and stakeholders would either not attend the conference at all or ‘pop in’. Despite this, the conference was well-attended, with the ‘buzz’ that usually accompanies the Labour Conference.

A significant proportion of the fringe programme was dedicated to discussing Brexit, yet this issue was not deemed ‘urgent’ enough to be discussed as part of the main conference programme, a fact commented on by a number of MPs with one stating that this was ‘bizarre’. One such fringe event on Brexit was hosted by the IPPR and ‘The UK in a changing Europe’ and was so popular that it was standing room only and started ten minutes before its scheduled time as further entry was impossible. It featured former Labour leadership candidate Chuka Umunna MP who spoke candidly about the need for the UK government to make a ‘big ask’ and remain part of the Single Market. He also spoke about the need for the Labour Party to respect the ‘Leavers’ and move forward, also pointing out that freedom of movement is an issue in France, Germany and Italy (as well as the UK) and it is in everyone’s interests to work to resolve these issues and seek a EU resolution. 

The Fabian Society and TheCityUK also considered Brexit in the context of the risks and opportunities for the UK's Financial and Professional Services. Featuring prominent Labour backbenchers in the form of Alison McGovern MP and Seema Malhotra MP, all speakers highlighted the importance of financial services for the whole economy, not just ‘inside the M25’ – pointing out that two thirds of financial services jobs are outside of London and stated the importance for businesses to have a contingency plan regarding Brexit, but the difficulty of anyone being in a position to form a plan in the short term.

The business events attended by R3 mainly featured Shadow Ministers under the Milliband leadership. This is unusual, as most fringe events want to feature those in a Shadow Secretary of State/ Ministerial role. The exception was a business reception sponsored by ACCA, BCC, EEF, FSB, ICAEW, IoD and IPSE which featured Jon Trickett MP - Shadow Secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as a speaker. Trickett’s time in this post was short-lived: he was the Shadow Secretary for just a few months and since the Labour Party Conference has been replaced by Clive Lewis MP.

The ‘chopping and changing’ and general unrest in the Labour Party is well documented and no doubt will continue for the next few months, if not longer. 

Notes to editors:

  • R3 is the trade body for Insolvency Professionals and represents the UK’s Insolvency Practitioners.

  • R3 comments on a wide variety of personal and corporate insolvency issues. Contact the press office, or see www.r3.org.uk for further information.

  • R3 promotes best practice for professionals working with financially troubled individuals and businesses; all R3 members are regulated by recognised professional bodies
     
  • R3 stands for 'Rescue, Recovery, and Renewal' and is also known as the Association of Business Recovery Professionals.