Current Affairs

Updated: Gordon Brown mentions civil partnerships in conference speech

Jessica Geen September 29, 2009
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Prime minister Gordon Brown has listed civil partnerships for gay couples as one of a number of Labour achievements in the past decade.

Addressing delegates in Brighton today, he used his speech to reveal a number of new initiatives, such as free childcare for poorer families and tax breaks for the middle classes.

He also attacked the Tories for being “consistently wrong” on everything, including on issues such as European allies. The party was criticised for forming an alliance with the Polish Law and Justice Party, whose members have made derogatory comments about homosexuality in the past.

Brown said: “Why would you put this country’s prosperity and power at risk by placing Britain at the fringe of Europe rather than at its heart?”

Citing the new Tory slogan ‘Change’, he said: “Ask them; how can you deliver change when you so clearly haven’t even changed your own party?

“Because there is a difference between the parties. It’s the difference between Conservatives who embrace pessimism and austerity and progressives like Labour who embrace prosperity and hope.”
Brown was introduced by his wife Sarah Brown, who described him as “my hero”.

As a poll this morning put the Labour Party behind Liberal Democrats, Brown said the upcoming general election would see voters making the “biggest choice for a generation”.

Other promises included a rise in the minimum wage, more supervision for teenage mothers, a crackdown on teenage binge-drinking and free childcare for 250,000 two-year-olds, which would be paid for by removing subsidies from better-off parents.

He also said there would be 50,000 new “green British jobs”, 10,000 skilled internships and up to 10,000 green job placements.

Brown signalled an apparent U-turn on compulsory ID cards, saying no British citizen would have to carry one in the next parliament.

Commentators suggested that much of the latter part of the speech seemed more of a call to arms for the party itself, rather than an address to the nation.

Brown called on Labour activists “to fight, not bow out, not walk away, not give in, not give up but fight – fight to win for Britain.”

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