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Speech by Jonathan Ashworth to Labour Party Annual Conference

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Shadow Minister without Portfolio, in a speech to Labour Party Annual Conference in Brighton, said:

Let me start by saying thank you.
Thank you to every one of you for your time, for your energy and your commitment to Labour in the run up to the election. 
I met many of you out campaigning and I know just how dedicated each and every one of you were.
Every part of our movement – members, trade unionists, councillors, candidates – gave everything and then even more, and of that we should all be proud.
While we’ll never forget the pain of that election night it’s nothing compared to the pain so many of our constituents are feeling now.
It’s been 21 weeks since that painful election. And it’s 21 weeks where we’ve seen 21 broken promises from Mr Cameron.
Do you remember before the General Election David Cameron promised to “reject” tax credits cuts?
But now after the election he’s cutting family tax credits by £1300 on average.
Remember how David Cameron told us before the election that child benefit would be safe? 
Now after the election he’s freezing child benefit for the next 4 years.
George Osborne before the election promised electrification of rail lines in the North and Midlands.
Now after the election this so called Party of the Northern powerhouse has shelved electrification of those train lines.
Remember David Cameron telling us before the election he would restore trust in politics? 
Now after the election, just yesterday, he still wouldn’t admit exactly when he knew about Lord Ashcroft’s non-dom tax status.
And remember Iain Duncan Smith before the election promising and I quote to ‘protect the most vulnerable’?
And now after the election – one of the cruellest broken promises of all – he’s slashing Employment Support Allowance for disabled and vulnerable people including those suffering from cancer and Parkinson’s disease. It’s a disgrace.
The list goes on.
Child Poverty target scrapped, social care reforms delayed, tax free child care paused, green energy support axed, the trade deficit widened, volunteering programmes dropped, deficit targets missed, productivity target missed, Freedom of Information watered down, affordable housing objectives abandoned.
Broken Tory promises leading to broken communities and a broken Britain and we Labour must challenge them at every turn.
And now Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne are trying to convince us they are the Party of the Workers. 
You simply cannot pose as the Party of the Workers while forcing through a Trade Union Bill that strangles workers’ collective voices and the means by which they defend their rights.
You cannot pose as the Party of the Workers when you turn your backs on 1,700 steelworkers in Teesside who desperately need your help. 
You cannot pose as the Party as the Workers while forcing through an economic agenda that’s about dismantling public services and tearing at the very fabric of our communities.
There is a Party of the Workers in our country – the Labour Party is the party of the Workers. 
Talking of broken promises. Did you see the Lib Dems at their Conference last week?
There they all were – well all 8 of them – defending their time in that Cameron government.
That’s right defending their time in the Cameron government. Defending the trebling of tuition fees and the assault on the most vulnerable in society. 
Well they may have changed their Leader but they still look like Tories to me.
There is only one opposition Party to the Tories in Britain today and that’s the Labour Party.
So let’s take the fight to the Tories.
We’ll expose the emptiness of their promises and the incompetence of their administration.
But let’s be honest we have to change the way we do politics.
Let the Tories carry on with their same old tricks and deceits while we’ll get on with creating a new kind of politics.
Under Jeremy’s leadership we are changing. We are building a grassroots movement in every community. 
We’ll engage people in a real democratic discussion. 
And we’ll fight to govern the country for a purpose, driven by the same values we’ve always held, the values that created the NHS, that battled for equality, that introduced the national minimum wage, that lifted millions of children out of poverty here and abroad.
Because when you look at the history of our movement it’s clear the Labour Party is the greatest force for social justice ever invented.
And Conference to be that force again we need to start winning again, winning to put our eternal progressive values into action.
We need to start winning again for the woman who told me her life is ‘ruined because of the bedroom tax.’ Her cries are our cries.
For the young people desperate for full time work but struggling on zero hours contracts. Their struggle is our struggle. 
For the mother living with her children in an overcrowded flat desperate to move home but unable to. 
And for the pensioner who came to my constituency office in tears with no money to buy food and forced to turn to the foodbank. Her tears are our tears.
So let the message go out from this hall that nothing, no Tory attacks, no misrepresentations, no divisions on our part will prevent this Party rising again to be party that delivers equality and fairness in the future.
It’s our duty. It’s our mission
Let’s get to it.

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