Jeremy Corbyn: Labour ‘a government in waiting’
Jeremy Corbyn is to promote Labour as a “government in waiting” as he opens the Scottish Labour conference in Dundee.
The three-day gathering will also feature speeches from Scottish party leader Richard Leonard and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
Policy debates are scheduled on a range of topics including tax, education, healthcare and Brexit.
Scotland’s other political parties have conferences scheduled around the country over the coming months.
The Scottish Labour conference at Caird Hall is the party’s first under the leadership of Mr Leonard, who will speak on Saturday.
In his speech, Mr Corbyn will say people had “written the Labour Party off” before they made six gains north of the border in the 2017 general election.
He will say: “In Scotland we were told that Labour was dying. The truth is that we very much are alive and kicking. Labour in Scotland is back.
“Led by Richard Leonard – who has already proven to be an excellent leader of Scottish Labour – we are making Labour’s voice heard for a radically fairer society.
“We won six seats for Scottish Labour at the last general election, and we are on the cusp of winning in around 20 more.
“Of course I know that we didn’t quite win. But we are no longer just an opposition. We are a party preparing to go into government.”
In the forward to the conference guide, Mr Corbyn added that “our country needs a Labour government in Holyrood and a Labour government at Westminster”.
Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird is speaking on Friday, while Mr McDonnell will close the event on Sunday.
Mr Leonard said his “overriding objective” for the conference was to “demonstrate to the people of Scotland that we are a party offering real change and so real hope for the future”.
Labour are currently the third party at Holyrood, having fallen behind the Conservatives in the 2016 elections, but Mr Leonard aims to turn that around having taken over as leader from Kezia Dugdale in November 2017.
He said: “It is clear to me that we cannot only call for the amelioration of deepening poverty and widening inequality; we must also win power to transform the system that creates it in the first place.”
Policy debates scheduled for the weekend include a discussion of Brexit, one on “new forms of public and common ownership” for infrastructure and public transport, and another on the economy – including tax, automation, workplace rights and industrial strategy.
Delegates are also due to debate education, housing, public services and healthcare.
Scotland’s political party conference season is to stretch across three months in 2018.
The Scottish Conservatives were forced to cancel their planned gathering in Aberdeen due to severe weather earlier in March, but are expected to rearrange for later in the spring.
The Scottish Greens are meeting in Greenock later in the month, before the Scottish Lib Dems hold their spring conference in Aviemore in April. The SNP are then gathering in Aberdeen in June.