Over the last few days I’ve been in Brighton for Labour’s Annual Conference.
In many ways this year was like any other – a chance to attend meetings and roundtables on a whole host of issues, an opportunity to catch up with friends, colleagues and members, and of course for delegates who have the important role of voting on motions on party policy.
Labour’s Annual Conference is one of the largest political events in Europe, with thousands of people regularly in attendance, more than 500 fringe events, hundreds of stalls hosted by charities, businesses and trade unions, and of course the important speeches and policy decisions in the conference hall itself.
I remain focused on helping to bring jobs and growth to our region, with a particular emphasis on the skills we need in order to deliver it.
This year, I chaired a debate on regional growth, exploring how we can use our cities to drive economic activity and bring more jobs to regions like the North East. I also spoke at a roundtable on pensions, and met with employers in our city.
When I return to Westminster, my main focus will be on the Tories’ disastrous Trade Union Bill, and I am pleased to be sitting on the Bill Committee as we scrutinise and oppose this legislation.
I hope that following the election of both a new leader and deputy leader, and following on from a successful conference, we can return to taking the fight to the Government on a range of issues as Parliament returns for a long session up to Christmas.
I will continue to stand up and speak out for Sunderland, both in Westminster and at home, as we face up to the reality of five years of majority Tory rule in this country.