At lunchtime today after the extremely fraught arguments over our motion and the Democracy review I went around the stalls. There are about a hundred stalls all around the conference hall. I would like to tell you about two that I found interesting. I had a lovely talk with a BAME women on a prisoners’ stall. She explained how the group assisted ex-prisoners to find housing on their release and supported them in their difficult journey back to the outside world. We discussed some of the reasons in this society that a disproportionate number of prisoners are BAME, over and above their percentage within society.
I also chatted to the Fire Brigades Union about the Grenfell disaster. The enquiry is interviewing the firefighters in great detail about the decision to tell people to stay in their homes. I discovered that it will be next year before the renovators and providers of the materials will be called to the enquiry. Possibly the council responsible for the Grenfell building and the repairs that took place before the fire mIght be called to the enquiry after that but that is not certain. What is much more clear is how hard some of the firefighters found dealing with the effect of the instruction to “stay” put which in this case was not the correct call but even if they had told people to leave their homes, the fire had spread so fast that the result for many residents would have been no different.
This morning we learned that the ballot on the Democracy review and the NEC inserted policy on a trigger ballot for selection of parliamentary candidates. I will leave others to tell you about the debate but I would like to thank Jonathan Clyne and Fred Gent for having the foresight to make this our priority last year. Although the detail has been defeated, it forced the change provided by the NEC which will make it easier for CLPs to select and reselect an MP.