Labour Party Conference Diary: Never judge a person by their lanyard
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Labour Party Conference Diary: Never judge a person by their lanyard

The warm welcome for Dame Louise Ellman and Ruth Smeeth by many sectors of the conference shows how far Labour has already come under Keir Starmer

Never judge a person by their lanyard

One of the best aspects about this year’s Labour Conference was watching firstly Ruth Smeeth, the former Stoke on Trent MP, and Dame Louise Ellman – both high profile victims of the antisemitism crisis under Jeremy Corbyn – wonder around the main Brighton Centre venue to be greeted warmly by Labour members, MPs and councillors alike.

Smeeth, who lost her seat in the north west at the last election, admitted being nervous before giving a high profile speech to the conference demanding delegates back the changes to Labour’s disciplinary processes. But she needn’t have worried. Such a success was her speech, that she was seen being warmly praised by a group of Labour members, all of whom wore the Palestine Solidarity lanyards that had previously spelt danger under the previous leader.

Dame Louise Ellman at LFI’s stand

Louise Ellman was similarly surrounded by well-wishers, and senior party figures, as she wondered around the conference hall on Tuesday. One person not stopping to say hello though was Kim Johnson, the MP for Liverpool Riverside who replaced the former Labour Friends of Israel chair is the seat after Ellman quit.

Sky News are amongst the many media organisations who host evening party events at Labour, and the Tory Party conferences.

All of the Labour shadow cabinet appeared to be in attendance at Monday night’s event.

It was interesting to see many of Labour’s shadow cabinet engaging in very friendly chatter with representatives from the Israel’s UK embassy at the drinks bash.

Deputy leader Angela Rayner was amongst those who seemed keen to make sure all felt welcome in the room.

One leading Jewish communal figure revealed the resignation of Andy McDonald from Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet caused confusion amongst some senior figures in the party on Monday afternoon.

One member of the party’s NEC was overheard going around telling those who would listen that Andy Slaughter, the MP for Hammersmith, had suddenly resigned.

“He hadn’t realised there was another Andy in the shadow cabinet,” laughed the source.

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