Labour conference returns to Clacton

FOLLOWING the intervention of the Prime Minister, this weekend's annual regional Labour party conference is to be held for the third time in Clacton.Tony Blair was lobbied at last year's national conference by former Harwich MP Ivan Henderson, and the Prime Minister then asked East of England regional organisers to return to Clacton to show Labour's commitment to a town he had visited during the General Election campaign.

By Graham Dines

FOLLOWING the intervention of the Prime Minister, this weekend's annual regional Labour party conference is to be held for the third time in Clacton.

Tony Blair was lobbied at last year's national conference by former Harwich MP Ivan Henderson, and the Prime Minister then asked East of England regional organisers to return to Clacton to show Labour's commitment to a town he had visited during the General Election campaign.

The two-day conference is being staged at the newly refurbished Days Inn hotel on Clacton seafront and the highlight will be a speech on Saturday afternoon by a leading member of Tony Blair's Cabinet, who is not being named in advance for security reasons.


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“Holding the conference in Clacton means Labour has not abandoned the town,” says Mr Henderson, who was MP for the area from 1997 to 2005.

“It will be a boost for the economy of the town with more than 200 delegates patronising the restaurants and hotels, and hopefully will send a signal to conference organisers that Clacton is a great venue to hold their gatherings.”

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MPs, Euro MPs and party members from Suffolk, Essex and the other four counties in the East of England will discuss regional policy on housing, the economy and transport on Saturday and Sunday and they will be entertained on Saturday evening by the Fame Academy from Clacton County High School.

On Friday, Gerry Sutcliffe, the minister in charge of employment relations and consumer affairs will be speaking to local business leaders on business law reform.

IN anticipation of parliamentary boundary changes being approved in the summer, Labour has formed constituency parties to cover the new divisions of Clacton and Harwich & Essex North.

Mr Henderson, who was MP for Harwich for eight years before his defeat last May by Tory Douglas Carswell, has been appointed parliamentary spokesman for both seats.

The new divisions are part of a major upheaval of constituency boundaries in Essex which will give the county an extra MP, with the borough of Colchester having three MPs for the first time in its history.

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