Labour Conference 2023: key takeaways for the public and business
Text | Alice Perry
Date | 12 October 2023
Read | 5 min
Alice Perry

As Labour Party Conference drew to a close this week, AlicePerry, Cicero UK Director – Public Affairs and former Chair of Labour NEC,shares her insights on what unfolded in Liverpool and what this means for the Labour Party going forward.

This excerpt is part of the full analysis the H/AdvisorsCicero team put together for our clients on Labour’s vision for the country and policy platform. For the full report get in touch.

From protest to power

The contrast between the Labour Party Conference in the Corbyn years and the Labour Party Conference in 2023 is profound. Part of Labour’s electoral strategy will be to demonstrate to the country that it is“safe” to vote Labour. The Party used Conference as a platform to show howLabour has reconnected with the concerns of ordinary working people, is on their side and has moved from being a party of protest to a party ready for power.

Showcasing General Election candidates

The Conference was a forum to showcase Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs). Establishing the PPCs within their local constituencies is crucial to winning seats from incumbent Conservative MPs.PPCs made speeches from the platform addressing local concerns and priorities, which were clipped for social and regional media. PPCs also attended training and briefings to ensure that both MPs and PPCs stay disciplined and on message.

5 Missions to 5 Pledges

At the end of Keir Starmer’s speech, Labour staff were handing out leaflets outlining 5 pledges. These pledges were linked to Starmer’s 5 Missions but designed to appeal more directly to voters and signifies a new phase in the Party’s policy communications. Labour pledged to get Britain building, switch on Great British Energy, get the NHS back on its feet, restore law and order and break down barriers to opportunity. Conference also passed Labour’s National Policy Forum final documents, containing the narrative and broad direction of travel of a Keir Starmer Government.

Pro-business, pro-worker

This was one of Labour’s biggest-ever conferences in terms of commercial visitors, with Monday’s business day selling out in record time.Over the last year, Labour has been heavily investing in their business engagement and outreach as part of the strategy to rebuild credibility and public confidence and to build relationships across business and industry aspart of preparations for a potential Labour Government. Alongside this, the shadow cabinet voiced their support for plans to put Labour reforms and improving workers’ rights at the heart of their pro-business, pro-worker agenda.

Winning Scotland

The mood within the secure zone was generally relaxed and focused rather than triumphant, but mentions of Rutherglen and Hamilton West were greeted with big cheers. Starmer’s team recognise that the smoothest route to aLabour Government runs through Scotland. It has taken Scottish Labour a longtime to recover from the 2015 General Election wipeout, but belief is growing that Labour is turning a corner and can become the largest party in Scotland.