- Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham are not scheduled to speak at the Labour Party’s Autumn conference, according to reports.
- The Mayors of London and Greater Manchester will sit to one side as Corbyn and his closest Shadow Cabinet allies address party members.
- A source close to Khan says it would be “extraordinary” for Corbyn to snub the mayor of London.
LONDON — Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham face being left out of Labour’s conference plans, as Jeremy Corbyn’s key allies are given key roles in their place.
Labour leader Corbyn and four shadow cabinet ministers will be given keynote speech slots, alongside more time for delegates to debate policy, but there are no plans for London Mayor Khan and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to address the party’s Autumn get-together, according to the HuffPost UK.
The four shadow cabinet ministers set to speak are reportedly Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry and Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer.
The Conference Arrangements Committee has not allocated any slots to Burnham or Khan, giving an indication that they will not be making speeches at any point during the four-day event.
One source close to Khan said it would be “extraordinary” to snub Khan, after a year in which London has been the centre of national attention with two terrorist attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire.
Khan backed Owen Smith against Corbyn in 2016’s Labour leadership election, saying: “If Jeremy remains as leader, Labour is extremely unlikely to win the next general election.”
The source close to Khan told HuffPost UK: “Sadiq has made conference speeches in the past few years as London spokesman, as mayoral candidate and as Mayor.
“It would be extraordinary in this year of all years – after London’s awful summer of terror attacks plus Grenfell, and with crucial London elections coming in May — if Sadiq didn’t make a conference speech.”
Burnham was expected to be given a speech after winning the Greater Manchester metro mayor elections comprehensively, with 63% of the vote. Burnham, a former Labour MP and leadership hopeful, was forced to deny snubbing Corbyn following his election win in May after he failed to join his leader at a rally in Manchester.
High profile Labour frontbenchers will instead be given prominent roles after Labour’s unexpected general election result.
Corbyn has told MPs the party is in a constant campaign mode so it can take advantage if May’s government suddenly collapses. The Labour leadership believes key shadow ministers need to be kept in the public eye.
Thornberry is one of the figures who impressed during the general election campaign and was praised for her performance standing in for Corbyn in Prime Minister’s Questions last month.
The Brighton conference will give Labour a chance to reflect on a momentous year when it gained 30 seats at the general election in spite of most pollsters predicting a significantly increased majority for Prime Minister Theresa May.
More speaking time is set to be given to ordinary party members, meaning less time for keynote speeches from high profile Labour figures.
More than 1200 delegates will attend the conference to help shape Labour policy and decide on the party’s direction. This is 700 more than last year’s Autumn conference in Liverpool.
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