It was a pleasure to address Welsh Labour Conference delegates in Llandudno this weekend as Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Wales.
As households in Wales face the longest pay squeeze in more than 150 years, it is our Welsh Labour Government and Welsh Labour Councils putting money back into peoples’ pockets, showing the real difference Labour in power can make.
The next general election will provide the country with a clear choice. A Labour government on the side of working families, providing certainty and stability or more of the chaos and short-term fixes we have become accustomed over the last 13 years of Tory misrule.
Watch my speech in full here:
Alternatively, the full text of my speech is below:
Chair, conference, thank you for such a warm welcome.
What a brilliant speech from Keir earlier – absolutely brilliant.
And I’m so looking forward to campaigning with all our general election candidates – old hands and new hands – as we take on the Tories and the Nationalists, right across Wales.
Conference, since we were last here in Llandudno, we have seen much change, with both highs and lows.
We will all take moments this weekend to remember those across our movement who we have lost in the past year.
We held our conference last year in the shadow of Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, which was just beginning.
Like then, I know that today, the thoughts of people across Wales, remain with the people of Ukraine and it is such an honour to have Lesya Zaburanna, a member of Parliament from Ukraine here with us this weekend.
As a Nation of Sanctuary, we in Wales have a proud history of welcoming those who are fleeing conflict and persecution.
In this past year more than 3,000 people fleeing Putin’s illegal invasion have found sanctuary through the Welsh Government’s ‘super sponsor’ scheme.
It has been Wales’s privilege to welcome them. Croeso.
Our conference is also the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the past 12 months.
In May’s local elections, we made gains across Wales.
For the first time ever, we have a Labour run council in Monmouthshire.
And, Conference, there’s not a single Conservative Council left in Wales!
We gained 66 new Welsh Labour councillors – all are working hard for their communities and putting Labour values into action.
None of this would be possible without the activists across our Labour and trade union movement, who volunteer their time to campaign in their communities, listening and speaking to voters, making sure our Labour message is heard.
Thank you all for the work that you do.
And thank you to our wonderful Welsh Labour staff.
I know how committed you all are.
How hard you work.
And the huge contribution you will continue to make as we head towards the general election.
Conference – you already know this but I’m going to say it anyway.
We’re so proud of our Welsh Labour Government, our Senedd Labour team, and of Mark, our First Minister.
But as you will hear Mark say over and over – we must never take the public’s support for granted.
Every vote is earned so that our Welsh Labour government can continue to deliver for Wales.
And conference – I’m also very proud of our Welsh Labour MPs.
Our nation may be small, but our Welsh PLP is mighty – and we definitely punch above our weight in Parliament.
Whether it’s in Keir’s Shadow Cabinet, as Shadow Ministers on the front bench, in the chamber, in select committees and of course in our constituencies, Welsh Labour MPs hold the Tories to account and stand up for Wales every single day.
I particularly want to thank my Shadow Wales team – Gerald Jones, Tonia Antoniazzi and Debbie Wilcox.
And a special thanks to Jess Morden who recently moved from our team to become Keir’s PPS.
You’re in very safe hands Keir!
And of course, a mention for our Welsh Labour Deputy Leader, the incredible Carolyn Harris.
Labour’s commitment to a Menopause Action Plan, which will deliver significant support to millions of women in the workplace, is in no small part due to Carolyn’s phenomenal campaigning skills.
Conference – we know what 13 years of Tory and Lib Dem governments (never forget the Lib Dems) have done.
Their record of failure.
And its easy to joke about 3 Tory Prime Ministers, 4 Chancellors and 3 Welsh Secretaries in 2022 – but here and across Britain people are living with the disastrous legacy of that failure, chaos and economic mismanagement.
Households dealing with the highest tax burden in 70 years,
the biggest forecasted drop in living standards since records began and the longest pay squeeze for more than 150 years.
Soaring inflation, rising food bills and eye-watering energy costs mean that for many people, it is an impossible task to pay basic bills like heating, shopping, rent or the mortgage.
But from Bangor to Bridgend, everyone knows who has stepped in and done everything possible to put money back into peoples’ pockets – our Welsh Labour Government and Welsh Labour Councils – showing the real difference Labour in power can make.
A fairer Wales, where care workers are paid the real living wage, where all primary school pupils can get a free school meal and where students get the most generous support in the UK.
Welsh Labour promised to guarantee education, training, or employment for everyone under 25. And our Young Person’s Guarantee has supported more than 11,000 young people into work.
New protections for tenants have come into place.
And Wales is achieving some of the highest recycling rates in the world, tackling plastic pollution and planting a national forest.
Not only is our Welsh Labour government taking action on the challenges of today, but we are also looking ahead to the future.
We haven’t banned onshore wind.
And we’ve had no talk of Tory fracking with a Welsh Labour Government that protects our environment for the sake of future generations.
Labour values in action and a record to be proud of.
So imagine conference – what a difference it would make having a UK Labour government working hand in hand with our Welsh Labour government.
No more Tory sticking plaster politics.
No more Tory Westminster hoarding power.
No more holding back our country’s economic potential.
Instead, a real partnership based on our shared values.
The next general election will provide the country with a logical choice.
A Labour government on the side of working families, making work pay
Providing certainty and stability NOT chaos and short-term fixes.
One that will seize those new opportunities NOT watch from the side lines whilst we fall behind in the global race.
That will give people skills and opportunities NOT leave their potential untapped
And we will be a government with strong, purposeful, ambitious leadership that puts country, not Party first – driving power and opportunity into every nation and every region.
Conference – the path to a general election victory runs right through Wales.
Winning in Wales can change the political landscape of the United Kingdom.
The country needs change.
The country wants change.
And Labour is ready to deliver it.