The Progressive Challenge: Healing the divisions after Brexit

Thank you very much for that introduction and to the Centre for Progressive Capitalism for inviting me to give this speech. The country voted to leave the European Union on 23rd June, exposing deep divisions in our country.  48% voted to remain; 52% voted to leave; London, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain; the rest of England and Wales voted to leave.  An overwhelming majority of the young voted to stay; older voters opted to go.  Socio-economic classes and ethnic groups voted in different ways too. Continue reading

British Independent Retailers Association Conference 2016

Thank you so much for inviting me to speak to you this morning. It’s a pleasure to be invited by BIRA which I was pleased to work with whilst Shadow Business Secretary, particularly when setting up Small Business Saturday UK in 2013.  Small Business Saturday has since become a successful annual event pushing hundreds of millions of pounds of trade to businesses like yours every year. Continue reading

Making the British Lion Roar

Many thanks for inviting me to speak to you today Disclosure and transparency are the watch words of the week -- so I published my latest tax return on Monday. But today I feel I need to go one step further on the transparency front. If you read the Business Centre Association's 2014 report, you will see that the UK business centre market comprises around 80,000 businesses, you employ over 400,000 people and generate approximately £2 billion of income for our country every year. That alone is reason enough to be here -- but I would be lying if I said that was the whole reason why I'm here. Continue reading

One Nation Britain: An aspiration not a reality

Thank you Oliver for that kind introduction, and to everyone for being here today. In his Andrew Marr interview yesterday Iain Duncan Smith spoke of a One Nation Britain.  There will be those who will dismiss it as a sound bite, or worse, an offensive label for the right-wing agenda the former welfare secretary has been pursuing since 2010. Continue reading

The case for Britain in a reformed Europe

Thank you very much to Berwin Leighton Paisner for inviting me to speak today. Its a pleasure to be here at one of our leading international law firms.  Before I was elected I used to work at one myself, Herbert Smith, and I know what a great export this sector is for our country. Continue reading

Labour is shedding ethnic minority votes which could prove fatal for 2020

Its an honour to be speaking to members of the second biggest trade union in the country, the largest public service union in the UK, a linchpin of our labour movement. I was reading on my way up here that Jeremy Clarkson is soon to make his comeback. Do you remember when Jeremy Clarkson said all public sector workers going on strike should be shot?  Continue reading

Cutting off your nose to spite your face

Well thank you so much for inviting me to speak this morning. I know you were expecting the Shadow Business Secretary to but I’m afraid the Shadow Business Secretary was unable to be here so you’ll have to make do with me instead. I am particularly honoured to be invited to speak by my good friend, Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, who is truly an inspiration not only to UK industrialists but to all of us.  Continue reading

Persuading the British people to vote with head and heart to stay in the EU

I am delighted to be speaking at this launch – thank you for asking me to speak. This is not an issue that cuts neatly along ideological lines.  In fact it is an issue that cuts across ideological and party divides.  I recall having dinner with the late Bob Crow and Nigel Farage - yup…me, Nigel and Bob - before the three of us appeared on an edition of BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions in November 2010.  It was one of the more surreal dinners I have had.  What was interesting is that both came from opposite ends of the political spectrum but were united on one thing - they shared a mutual dislike of the EU. Continue reading

Usdaw Conference 2015

I was elected to Parliament in 2010. I was a lawyer for almost a decade before that. But one of my first jobs was in the menswear store TM Lewin. I know that feeling when you've been standing all day serving customers, and you finally get to take the weight off your feet. Continue reading

Labour's better plan for economic prosperity

Its fantastic to be here at Jaguar Land Rover to launch our plan for prosperity. JLR is a great British success story. It is the jewel in the crown of our resurgent automotive industry.  The resurgence of the automotive industry, has proved the truth that was – for too long in Britain – heresy:  That great companies succeed more in strong sectors.  Continue reading