An Inside View of the Labour Party Conference

The last seven days have been dubbed “The Week That Changed Everything” – a phrase could equally apply to Labour.

The reasons – unity and big business. Let me explain….

I’ve been to almost every conference since 2010 and some have been dispiriting, strife-riven affairs. But not this time.

Gone were the hours debating rule changes, fighting about policy, or tearing each other apart on ideological purity. The centre and the left came together.

And this new-found fusion could be felt in the hotel bar.

This is where you measure the mood and the positivity was palpable as one former senior advisor, previously critical of Keir Starmer, told me: “I’ve drunk the Kool Aid. I think this can work.”

Then there’s the other crucial missing piece of the puzzle – business.

For years they’d felt unwelcome and lacked belief they could be talking to future Cabinet ministers but now they were back, with Sainsbury’s and Lloyds Bank sponsoring events and taking exhibition space.

Businesses had been absent since 2014 but now they aren’t afraid of a Labour government anymore.

There is a willingness for dialogue. Brands are keen to begin those conversations so the networking machinery to enable that will go into overdrive.

And that isn’t straightforward. The Labour Party’s went through a period when business became a dirty word, rather than a fundamental necessity in a thriving economy, generating tax receipts that fund can top-tier public services.

Establishing those relationships will need an understanding of how the Party works in addition to knowing who to talk to.

But those efforts will be boosted by a YouGov poll giving Labour a 33-point lead over the Tories – the biggest gap since the 1990s.

Next, the spotlight will fall on the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham next week.

Unity and belief can be huge. Over to you, Liz.