Debate and decisions in the Eastern region

A report back from our delegation to Labour East’s regional conference

An all-female panel at Labour East conference

UNISON Eastern Labour Link took a small delegation to the Labour East regional conference in Stevenage last weekend.

The delegation, consisting of a health worker, a local government worker, a community and voluntary sector employee and the regional Labour Link officer, participated in the whole three-day conference.

The weekend kicked off on Friday when delegates from Labour-affiliated unions hosted a reception with political officers, councillors and Norwich South MP Clive Lewis.

The conference opened formally on Saturday morning with a welcome from Cllr Sharon Taylor who leads Stevenage Borough Council, which is enjoying five decades being run by Labour.

The conference heard from Labour East regional director Hollie Ridley who reported on the year before, while two sessions were led by MPs West Streeting and Annelise Dodds and local councillors debating Labour’s offer for the next generation and how we win in the east of England.

In the afternoon, a UNISON delegate in social care joined an all-female panel with the shadow culture minister Alison McGovern to discuss and take questions about health and happiness with Labour.

After two more panels, motions on energy and the environment (GMB) and the high street (USDAW) were passed.

After a long Saturday, with conference closing just after 5.30pm, there was time for a short freshen up before the Labour party dinner where former MP Vernon Coaker and current MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan both spoke telling various very sad stories about their paths to becoming MPs, especially about Rosena’s experiences as an ICT doctor during the peak of the pandemic.

During the weekend there was opportunity for some short training sessions for those that wished to find out more about digital campaigning, creating contacts, Labour targeting platform Insight and anti-semitism awareness.

The Sunday continued with motions around fire and rehire from Unite, regional support for a national care service from UNISON and response to Covid from Mid Beds CLP, all of which passed after debate.

There was an interesting presentation from the party’s acting director of data and targeting and digital officer and a parliamentary report and Q&A with regional MPs Daniel Zeichner, Rachel Hopkins and Sarah Owen.

There was also a local government panel with various Labour councillors and the shadow secretary of state for communities and local government, Steve Reed MP.

During the conference UNISON, confirmed it would have two of the trade union seats on the regional Labour executive for 2022, to be filled by Tracy Grant and Sam Older.

If you would like any more information about UNISON Labour Link or to get involved with the regional Labour Link committee in UNISON Eastern, please do contact the chair Tracy Grant or secretary Sam Older.


Top picture shows Pauline Bacon, UNISON Labour Link rep, Bedford Cllr Louise Jackson, Bedford Council, Ashley Dalton, former parliamentary candidate, Alison McGovern, shadow minister for culture, media and sport, and Great Yarmouth Cathy Cordiner-Achenbach.