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September 29, 2010 - Bill Esterson's Westminster Diary

Bill Esterson


Labour Party Conference is always an interesting event.


One of my first tasks upon arrival in Manchester was to speak directly to former Labour Transport Minister Sadiq Khan about the Thornton Relief Road.


Despite there being much confusion on this issue in Sefton, he confirmed personally that he approved the long-needed road before the election. Conclusive proof that the road was one of the first victims of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government.


But it's an issue which I'm sure will still be kicked around by Labour Party opponents to try and divert attention from the fact that they are responsible for blocking the number one-rated road project in the North West which will bring investment and jobs to Sefton at a time when the economy most needs it.


Speaking of kicking around, I had great pleasure in joining the MPs in the annual football match against 'The Journalists' at the conference on Sunday.


It is only a slight exaggeration if I say I set up local boy Andy Burnham's goal.


Despite a hard fought game, the Labour MPs won by five goals to two.


But it wasn't the football match which grabbed all the headlines from this year's conference. It was obviously the appointment of Ed Miliband as the Labour Party's new leader.


Ed will be a tremendous force for change within the Labour Party.


He will reconnect us with the British people. And he is already proving that in his commitment to the living wage.


I backed Ed from the start after hearing what he had to say about providing a new kind of leadership to the party.


He has some very clear ideas on where he wants the party to go and possibly more importantly where he wants the country to go.


And it is these ideas which we will need to get us out of the economic mess which this Conservative-Liberal Democrat government leave us in. Their policies are the policies which have been followed by the Irish and just this week experts indicated that the Irish economy was in "freefall".


Ed will reach out to millions of people who are worried about their jobs. Their homes and their children's futures. He believes the government are cutting too fast and too soon. Of course we have to get the deficit down but that will not happen if the economy goes back into recession because of ideological cuts in the public sector. Ed Miliband will stand up for hard working families in Sefton, to defend jobs and services and for thousands of self employed people struggling to keep their businesses going and that's why I supported him as the new leader of the Labour Party.


The challenge for Ed is to not just to lead the party, but to prepare to take the helm of the country and steer us back to economic growth.


He has a vision for the party and he has a vision for the country.


Ed called it rightly on Sunday morning when he told Andrew Marr: "A new generation of change - that's what my leadership is about."


A good start.


Ed has dedicated himself to reinforcing the party as a movement for change. A movement which is there to support the people in communities throughout the country - including right here in Sefton Central.


It is this movement that we must continue to build.


Now that's a great goal.


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