John McDonnell sets out a radical vision to Conference: Day 2 review

All eyes were on John McDonnell in Liverpool on Monday as the Shadow Chancellor addressed Labour Party Conference. Receiving a rapturous reception from delegates, McDonnell set out a radical vision for an incoming Labour government, saying he was “proud to call the future Socialism”. Earlier in the day the media was told that Jeremy Corbyn planned to serve two full terms as Prime Minister.

The most eye-catching element of the speech was the fleshing out of the manifesto commitment on nationalising the water industry. While company leaders would have to reapply for their jobs with reduced pay, bills would be reduced as money was returned into the system rather than into the pockets of shareholders.

McDonnell also laid out plans for Inclusive Ownership Funds, which would see companies employing more than 250 people having to transfer at least 1% of shares into the ownership of employees, who will receive up to £500 in dividends annually.

You can read our report and analysis from our Editor in Chief on Inclusive Ownership Funds here.

The other key speech of the day came from Shadow Education Secretary Angela Raynor, who pledged to rein in academies and end the free school system started by Michael Gove. Among the reforms to academies outlined, the ability to set separate admissions policies will end and all schools will have to follow the same set of rules. Currently academies are able to set their own admissions policies, term-times and uniform conditions.

Elsewhere in the Conference Hall Work and Pensions spokesperson Margaret Greenwood pledged that a Labour government would scrap the current regime of benefit sanctions. Detailing stories of those who have been affected, Greenwood said the social security system would be based on “supporting people rather than policing them”. There was also a commitment to pause the roll out of Universal Credit, which some delegates called to be scrapped completely.

Ahead of the Brexit debate on Tuesday morning, Keir Starmer hinted that at the continuing wrangling among the front bench. Asked about the prospect of a referendum on the final EU deal, Starmer said that the commitment to not rule anything out meant that remain could be an option. On Sunday night the Shadow Brexit Secretary was part of the compositing meeting on the motion to be debated Tuesday, which included 300 delegates and last more than five hours.

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