John McDonnell at #lab15 – big words but were they new?
Monday was the main business day of the Labour Conference. The agenda was packed with fringe events, so much so that the new Shadow Ministers had to rush between double booked debates, often without time for questions from the audience.
Nick Thomas-Symonds MP made his first contributions to the pension debate, setting out his priorities. He spoke at a number of small fringe events, highlighting that his priorities were around fairness and stability. He also he will look at provision of advice, as well as improving public sector pension provision.
Being so new to the pension sector, it was good to see the new shadow minister willing to discuss policy points but it remains to be seen what proposals are developed by the Labour under new leadership.
Monday was also John McDonnell’s main stage speech. His rhetoric was new, with a straight talking delivery style. But some of his more headline grabbing policy comments were not that far removed from Ed Balls’ previous contributions. He talked about switching the approach to deficit reduction to focus on growth, called for a review of HMT’s role in tax avoidance, as well as the OBR to review Labour’s spending commitments.
McDonnell himself said this was not his usual rant. His most harsh comments came against those Labour MPs who refused to serve under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Time will tell how the new team of Shadow Ministers will develop and announce their policy proposals so it looks like the wait for the policies from the new politics goes on.