Last week Labour celebrated victories in local elections held in cities and boroughs across the country. This set of elections are a real turning point for Labour, with results that would put us on course to win dozens of the parliamentary seats across the country that we need to win the next election – including hugely symbolic ones such as Workington and Hartlepool. We’ve made huge progress on the 2019 general election and last year’s local elections: we won council’s in Cumberland, Southampton, and the flagship Conservative Council of Wandsworth. In a truly seismic shift, we also won Westminster council, something people thought wasn’t even possible. These results show that the failure to tackle the cost of living crisis and the lack of trust in Boris Johnson have damaged the Tories. They also show a renewed, confident Labour party ready to make further progress as we build towards the next election.
Here in Birmingham, Labour matched its performance from 2018, maintaining the number of Labour councillors across the city. There is some fantastic new talent in the city and I know that our councillors will renew their focus on the challenges faced by Birmingham. My congratulations to all of those new councillors, those who held their seats, and of course our fantastic Labour representatives up and down the country. Putting our politics into practice starts with our town and city halls, and shows that Labour in power can make real and positive change for those we represent. I’d also like to put on record my thanks to the thousands of activists and supporters who gave up their time to deliver these fantastic results – we couldn’t have done it without you.
On Thursday evening I appeared on Question Time where I challenged the Government’s record on the cost-of-living. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: if the Government wants to steal our ideas to tackle the cost-of-living crisis they’re more than welcome. Until they do, endless hand-wringing about what they can and can’t do just won’t wash with the public. It’s clear that the Prime Minister is making a political choice to abandon families across the UK, families who are making stark choices about heating their homes or feeding their families. Talk of cutting back to the barest of essentials is insulting to those who are already living in the margins of this crisis. On the programme, I also challenged the Attorney General on Downing Street Parties. The Conservatives talk a good game on obeying the law, but even though their own Prime Minister has admitted to breaking it he still won’t do the decent thing and offer his resignation.
This week the Queen’s Speech outlined the Government’s plans for this parliamentary session. Keir was right to say that as we emerge from the pandemic our country has a golden opportunity to rebuild stronger, learning where our society and our services need more resilience. Yet the Government’s programme was bereft of ideas or purpose, without a guiding principle or a roadmap for delivery, and it shows that their time has passed. We have a Cabinet completely out of ideas and out of energy, led by a Prime Minister entirely out of touch. A Labour government would rise to the moment where this government has badly failed and get Britain growing again after 12 years of Tory failure.
And finally, the fantastic local charity Suited for Success is partnering with OCS to host two employment days on 18th and 19th May to support local residents into brilliant local jobs at the Commonwealth Games this summer. Please do take a look at their flyer and share with those who might be interested. It’s a great way for Birmingham Ladywood residents to play their part in showcasing our fantastic city – so let’s seize the opportunity.