Labour councils stil have prove to the party’s leadership that they are a “force for good”, according to the leader of the Local Government Association’s Labour group.
Nick Forbes, who is leader of Newcastle City Council and one of two local government representatives on Labour’s national executive committee, told the Association of Labour Councillors annual reception last night that local government must have a greater influence over policy making.
Speaking after an appearance by Jeremy Corbyn at the event, Cllr Forbes said: “We need to make sure that local government is taken seriously when it comes to policy decisions within Labour.
“We need to make sure our track record of delivery in the most difficult of circumstances is the platform on which we build a manifesto at the next election because the party needs to learn from what local government has achieved.”
Public service delivery was debated at conference on Sunday afternoon, with speeches by delegates dominating proceedings.
Cllr Forbes said he had been “waiting all day to make a speech” and added that in the future Labour councillors were “not going to be pinned into a two-hour debate on Sunday afternoon”.
He added: “We want our voice to be heard in every area of Labour Party policy.
“Next time we have a conference let’s make sure our rally is not in a conference room like this but it is a rally on the beach with more Labour councillors.”
Mr Corbyn recently launched of a review of internal party rules that would see the membership given a greater role, including in leadership contests,
Mr Forbes said Labour councillors must contribute to the review by preparing “to make the case for the value that Labour local government brings to our party”.
He added: “Our mission is to make sure Labour in local government is the building block, a foundation stone, the absolute corner piece of everything Labour does to prepare for government and then what we deliver in government.”