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Rachel Reeves wins the endorsement of Mark Carney at Labour Party Conference

Rachel Reeves
By Imogen Shaw
10 October 2023
Public Affairs
labour party conference

In a party conference coming on the heels of a decisive victory for Labour in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, the highlight so far has been Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves.

Yesterday, Reeves, in a powerful address to the Labour Party's conference, has asserted that the party's focal point in the next election will be Britain’s economic recovery.

While her speech didn't introduce many new policies, Reeves outlined her vision of an economic approach reminiscent of ‘Bidenomics’. This approach aims to nurture the economy "from the bottom up and the middle out," with a primary focus on the welfare of workers.

In something of a coup for the Shadow Chancellor, her speech came alongside the public endorsement of Reeves by Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of England, who had been appointed by the previous Conservative Chancellor, George Osborne in 2013.

Speaking to a packed audience in Liverpool, Reeves declared her intention to become Britain's first female chancellor. Recognising the significant task of overturning the Conservative Party's substantial majority in the next election, Reeves underscored the need for unwavering discipline. She stressed that working people rightfully expected nothing less, and she warned against the risks associated with reckless handling of public finances.

Reeves also pledged to launch a vigorous campaign against fraud, waste, and inefficiency in government and the creation of a ‘Covid corruption commissioner’ to recover taxpayers' money where it is found to have been spent inappropriately on Covid-era government contracts.

Among the policies that Labour would introduce in government, Reeves confirmed the implementation of a new fiscal lock on ministerial spending, streamlining the planning system for major infrastructure projects – including the energy grid, a common theme of senior Labour figures at this conference – and put some more meat on the bones of a series of previously announced tax measures. Additionally, ministers would be required to consult with the official watchdog on major tax and spending changes to avoid a repeat of Liz Truss's ill-fated mini-Budget.

Reeves emphasised that Labour's primary battleground in the next election would be the economy. She urged voters to reflect on whether they and their families were better off than they were 13 years ago and whether essential services like hospitals, schools, and police had improved during Conservative rule.

At a conference busier and more dominated by business and industry than any I have seen, pundits expect the Labour leadership to continue the narrative of Labour being able to oversee a “decade of national renewal” in government, and will count the 2023 party conference as a significant success.