Ed Miliband's conference speech as-it-happened

Adam Bienkov By

16.11 - My colleague Alex Stevenson has just sent me some reaction from inside the hall. Here's Willie Bain MP:

"It was terrific. People across the country will feel engaged with Ed Miliband, they will feel this is a leader they can trust, they can like.

The things that really struck me are the emotional case he put for the National Health service. This is something that is deep in the blood of the British people. They do not approve of the breakup of what's happened under the Tories. I think the credible emotional case he put for Scotland in Britain, and that clear plan to tackle our cost of living crisis..."

And Hilary Benn:

It was brilliant. Someone's just said to me if David Cameron was watching that he'll be thinking 'blimey'. He's completely up for the fight. And the pledge on energy bills - in the end politics is about what we can do to help people at a time when things are tough for lots of folk. This will really resonate with people because at the next election people will say here are the two main party leaders, whose side are they on? We saw Ed's character, Ed's leadership, Ed's strength.You've seen a lot of policies unveiled. We've had a fair bit of policy before. No one can now say 'what does Labour stand for?'

And Andy Burnham:

It was self-effacing in places but clear in terms of saying, here's the choice at the next election: Cameron, who stands up for the wrong people, for tobacco over the cancer charities, [or] Ed Miliband the man on the side of ordinary families worried about their energy bills. [It's] being prepared to stand outside the consensus, or the inner cliques at times. The man who stood up to Murdoch, who wasn't part of the rush to war - that is becoming Ed Miliband's branding. He will stand outside the consensus and call it. That is leadership at the end of the day."

15.26 - Snap verdict: this was probably the most left-wing speech from a Labour party leader in a generation. Housebuilding, price controls, low pay and Murdoch-bashing were right at the centre of the speech. 

15.23 - "Britain's best days lie ahead. Britain can do better than this. Britain we're better than this," says Miliband for the umpteenth time as he closes his speech.

15.21 - "You can tell your Lynton Crosby: it might work elsewhere but it won't work here. Britain we're better than this."

15.19 - Miliband on character: "If they want to have a debate about leadership and character. Be my guest."

"When it was Murdoch vs the McCanns he took the side of Murdoch." He adds that "David Cameron was the prime minister who introcuced the bedroom tax. I will be the prime minister who repealed the bedroom tax.

"Cameron is "weak at standing up to the strong... Lets' have that debate about character. I relish that debate," he adds.

15.14 - Onto the oligatory section on the Scottish referendum. Clegg also had a brief section on this in his speech last week, but none of the Westminster parties seem to have a great deal to say about this outside of party conference time.

15.13 - Miliband pledges to extend the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds.

15.12 - "You can't be a party that fights for working people unless you have working people at the core of your party... Friends let's make us the people's party once again".

15.10 - "Here's the bit you've all been looking forward to - party reform," says Miliband laughing awkwardly.

15.09 - "It's the same old story. We rescue the NHS, they wreck the NHS and then we have to rescue it all over again and that is what the next Labour government will do," he says to a standing ovation.

15.06 - Miliband says the NHS is getting worse and the government are "desperately thrashing around to find someone else to blame. Blame the doctors, blame the nurses,that's what they're doing." He adds that it's "as simple but ABC. Blame anyone but Cameron".

15.01 - Another big pledge on housebuilding. He says Labour will oversee 200,000 houses a year by end of next parliament. Previous governments have made similar pledges before and failed to deliver.

14.59 - Miliband makes a big pledge to freeze energy prices from 2015-2017.

14.58 - The government have "not had the strength to stand up to the strong" on energy bills says Miliband. This is clearly the theme of the speech.

14.55 - Miliband now reeling off a long list of terrible things that will definitely not happen under his currently non-existent government. "It's a race to the bottom. Not under my government," he says after every example.

14.54 -  On immigration Miliband says "If people want a party that cuts itself off from the rest of the world then Labour is not your party."

14.53 - "I don't often say anything good about the banks but I will now," says Miliband. Points out they've been good at paying a living wage.

14.51 - Ed Miliband talking about his son's first day at school: "he was nervous at first but then he started to have fun. It's a bit like being the leader of the Labour party.

14.46 - If One Nation was the slogan of last year's conference then "We're Britain. We're better than this," is this years's slogan. Like One Nation Labour, it's not immediately clear what it means, but the crowd seem to like it.

14.45 - Of Lord Howell's comments about fracking in the North, Miliband says "they call them desolate areas. We call them our friends, our neighbour, our heroes of this country."

14.43 - If last year's conference speech was a barnstormer, this one is more like a stand up act. He appear's incredibly relaxed up there. Perhaps too relaxed

14.41 - There's been quite a few good lines form Miliband so far. Here's another one: Cameron "thinks that for Britain to win the global race, you need to lose."

14.39 - Miliband says the government's record is "not worthy of a lap of honour. It's worthy of a lap of shame." Are we still talking about Cameron's beach trip?

14.38 - Miliband makes a joke about Cameron not wearing a shirt on the beach.

14.37 - It's all going a bit pantomime now. "Do the Tories get it?" "No!" shouts the audience.

14.35 - Miliband does another gag: "They say the rising tide lifts all boats. Now it just lifts the yachts." At least three people laugh.

14.32 - Ed Miliband says he once met a scaffolder who just happened to mention all the things the Labour leader is campaigning on. 

14.29 - Miliband continues the theme of speaking truth to power. "Whoever your opponent is. However powerful they are... This is who I am. This is the leadership Britain needs."

14.27 - Miliband talking about "facing down Rupert Murdoch" over phone hacking. He says "It wasn't the way things had been done in the past but it was the right thing to do and so I did." He also mentions his stance on Syria.

Coincidentally these are the two things he was praised for in that Comres poll released earlier.

He adds that "the real test of leadership is not standing up to the weak but standing up to the strong." They love this.

14.24 - Two new slogans so far. "Are you satisifed?" and "Britain we're better than this". Both getting a good outing.

14.22 - Miliband delivering his anecdote about saving a cyclist, who then described him as super hero. Miliband finds this hilarious.

14.21 - "It's great to be in Brighton" says Miliband for the 432nd time this week.

14.20 - Ed Miliband coming out now and doing the standard shake-and-wave to the front row.

14.13 - Ed Miliband will be speaking without notes. This means that Labour haven't sent out an advance text of his speech, presumably to stop mischievous journalists like myself from trying to work out which bits he forgets.

13.55 - Strange images projected on to the back of the conference hall. Once upon a time political parties solicited our votes. Now they solicit our Facebook likes.

13.46 - Under half an hour to go now until the speech begins and my colleague Alex Stevenson is already in the hall. I'll bringing you his thoughts and reactions to Miliband's speech as we go on.

13.05 - Yet more grim polling news for Ed Miliband. Comres found that six-in-ten (61%) believe he does not come across as an election winner. Just 17% disagree and 22% are not sure.

Meanwhile half (49%) believe Labour would have a better chance of winning the next election without Miliband as leader, while only 19% disagree.

On a more positive note, 44% say his opposition to war in Syria makes them feel better about him as leader, and an indentical amount feel the same way over his speaking out about phone hacking.

12.50 - Why do (usually male) party leaders always feel the need to pose for pictures with their wives and children before their conference speeches?

It always looks so awkward. Do we really need to see our potential future prime minister wandering round his hotel room in his socks?

I suppose it's meant to make us see them as more human, but it just looks a bit odd.

12.32 -There's a fairly relaxed feel at the Labour conference this year - perhaps a little too relaxed.

12.06 - Labour have committed to "breaking up" the big energy firms. Shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint told conference:

"Today I pledge, we will break up the Big Six. The power stations will be separated from the companies that send you your bill. Just as the banks will have to separate their investment and trading arms from the high street branches, so we will make the energy companies separate their production from the companies that supply your home."

Miliband will have more to say on this later.

11.59 - The other marginalised group in the party are Labour's hard left. The Labour Assembly Against Austerity or LAAA claim the support of over 20 MPs and 500 councillors, including Peter Hain, Diane Abbott and Ken Livingstone.

They've all signed a motion urging Labour not to sign up to Conservative party spending plans, which they say would be a "disaster" for Labour.

"[The LAAA] rejects austerity as a solution to the economic crisis. Instead of cuts, we support a plan for public investment and jobs that can get the economy growing. We believe by offering a progressive economic alternative to austerity, Labour can best reach out to a broad coalition of voters whose living standards have declined under this Coalition government. In contrast, sticking to the Tory spending limits in the next Parliament would be a disaster for Labour".

Ed Balls has responded by insisting that: "The government’s day to day spending totals for 2015/16 will have to be our starting point". In other words he's sticking to them.

Will Ed Miliband take a softer line in his speech today?

11.40 - A lot of attention has been made to Labour's union links over recent months but there are actually two big players in the party.

The other big player is the party's remaining private supporters. The most notable of these is Lord Sainsbury who funds the Progress pressure group.

Today they've published some advice for the Labour leader on the "three things Ed Miliband must do" in his speech today.

It's all a bit wonky. Apparently he needs to give a "condition of Britain analysis" and express an "organising principle". 

I think this translates as "he needs to say what's wrong with Britain and then say what he's going to do about it," but I could be wrong.

11:19 - Whoops. Keith Vaz just got booed by the conference after referring to Maria Eagle as Angela Eagle, who is very much a different person. "They sound so similar" he explained rather awkwardly.

11.05 - Eagle clearly rowing back from Ed Balls's comments on HS2 yesterday. She makes it clear that Labour still supports it.

"So let's free up space for new commuter services by moving the growth in long journeys onto a new North-South rail line, reducing journey times, getting more freight off our roads. That's why we support High Speed two."

She repeats that there will be "no blank cheque" for the project but urges the government to "get a grip on this project, get a grip on its budget and get it back on track".

There were reports overnight that Balls and Miliband disagree over going ahead with HS2. It seems that Miliband's point of view has won out. 

11.02 - Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle is giving a speech about improving rail travel. It's not terribly exciting. Here's a sample:

"Isn't it time that all trains had wi-fi, you know? It's the 21st century." 

Not exactly Martin Luther King is it?

10.45 - It's that time of year again when Ed Miliband gets ready to deliver what is always described as his "make or break" conference speech.

What exactly he's trying to make and why exactly it's threatening to break isn't always clear, but suffice to say it's a very important speech.

Here's a run-down of our coverage on it from this morning.

1.  Labour poll lead increases again as Miliband promises 1m new homes

A preview of what will be in the Labour leader's speech this afternoon

2. One last smear? McBride attacks Miliband's leadership qualities

"He can have a tendency to overthink things and take too much advice," says the former Labour spin doctor in his latest attempt to help his party.

3. Labour's got the policy, but its press machine is still a shambles

Our editor Ian Dunt thinks Labour's message is right, but wonders what's happened to the messengers.

4. Five reasons for Ed Miliband to be cheerful

Why I believe Ed Miliband is in much better shape than his press coverage would have you believe

5. Comment: Labour hasn't fixed its biggest 2010 problems

Why my colleague Alex Stevenson disagrees with me.

And finally you can watch a video of Damian McBride's publisher wrestling with a man and his dog.

As long as this doesn't happen again during Miliband's speech today, Labour will be happy.

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