The New Statesman will be holding our own unaffiliated, virtual conferences with a series of panel events, interviews and guest speeches from some of the Labour party's great and good, old and new.
We have been running party conference fringe events for more than fifteen years, with some extremely memorable speakers and appearances. This year will be no different, albeit with the slight caveat that it will all be held in a virtual forum to protect all our readers and delegates from the current pandemic.
Our line up of events will feature a range of topics that will be suitable for every interested political thinker and New Statesman reader, with panels intertwined with solo speeches from the most senior of political figures.
We will still have the same level of engagement with parliamentarians, business leaders and experts on stage, and audience members open to submit their thoughts to our live Q&As. We have let all our speakers know to be prepared to take the usual level of grilling they would from a New Statesman audience.
No other partnered event will get you this close to the political action as the New Statesman Virtual Conferences will this year.
Diane Abbott MP
In 1987 Diane Abbott made history by becoming the first black woman ever elected to the British Parliament. She has since built a distinguished career as a parliamentarian, broadcaster and commentator.
She was elected on to the National Executive of the Labour Party and, for most of the 1990s, served on the Treasury Select Committee. In 2015, Diane was re-elected to her Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency with a landslide majority and, in September 2015, was appointed Shadow Secretary for International Development. Diane then went on to become Shadow Secretary for Health, in June 2016.
MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Jon was elected Member of Parliament for Leicester South at a by-election in May 2011. In October 2016, he was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, having previously served as Shadow Minister without Portfolio. Jon was also in Ed Miliband’s front bench team as Shadow Cabinet Office Minister from October 2013. Before becoming an MP, Jon worked in the Treasury as a special advisor to Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor, and continued to work for Gordon Brown when he became Prime Minister. Outside of politics, Jon is a keen book-worm, and runner and ran the marathon for the third time last year.
MP, Chair of the Select Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
Hilary has been the Labour Member of Parliament for Leeds Central since 1999. He served as a Minister in the Home Office, as International Development Secretary and as Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the last Labour Government. Since 2010, he has been the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, the Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Shadow Foreign Secretary. He was elected Chair of the Exiting the European Union Select Committee in October 2016 and is currently Chair of the Select Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union.
Yvette Cooper MP
Former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Yvette Cooper was Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from 2009 to 2010. She also served as Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Shadow Home Secretary. She is currently the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.
MP, Shadow Chancellor
Anneliese Dodds is the Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Oxford East. She was appointed Shadow Chancellor in 2020.
MP, Shadow Minister for Further Education and Universities
Emma Hardy was born and brought up in the East Riding – a few miles from the seat of Hessle and West Hull that she now represents in Parliament. Before becoming an MP, Emma was a primary school teacher for over ten years. She left teaching in 2015 to become a full-time organiser for the National Union of Teachers and served as Deputy General Secretary of the Socialist Educational Association before being elected to Parliament. Following her election in 2017, and subsequent re-election in 2019, Emma has risen in the Labour Party to become Shadow Minister for Further Education and Universities in 2020. Teaching and education are at the forefront of Emma’s agenda and she is constantly fighting to ensure all of our young people receive the educational provision and support they need.
Lisa Nandy MP
Shadow Foreign Secretary
Lisa Nandy was first elected as the Labour MP for Wigan in 2010. During her time in Parliament, Lisa has served on the front bench in a number of roles, including Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Shadow Children’s Minister and Shadow Minister for Civil Society. Lisa is also the co-founder of the think tank Centre for Towns which was set up to ensure priority is given to the viability and prosperity of Britain’s towns. Before entering Parliament, Lisa worked for the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint and The Children’s Society.
MP, Shadow Minister for Public Health and Patient Safety
Alex Norris has been the Labour and Co-operative MP for Nottingham North since June 2017. As part of Labour’s Shadow Health Team, he holds the portfolio for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care. Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, Alex was a Nottingham City Councillor holding responsibility for Adults and Health and also worked as a Trade Union Organiser.
Keir Starmer MP
Leader of the Labour Party
Before entering Parliament, Keir was a defence barrister specialising in human rights, trade union and environmental cases. Keir was the legal advisor to the Northern Ireland Policing Board for five years where he helped to oversee implementation of the Good Friday Agreement recommendations relating to policing.
In 2008, Keir was named as the Director of Public Prosecutions for the Crown Prosecution Services, making him head of a public body with thousands of employees and responsible for carrying out prosecutions on behalf of the British people. Prior to being elected as leader, Keir was Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (2016-2020) and Shadow Immigration Minister (2015-2016). Keir was elected to Parliament in 2015 as the member for Holborn and St Pancras, where he has lived for many years with his wife and two children.
MP, Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
Wes Streeting is the Labour Member of Parliament for Ilford North and currently serves as Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, responsible for a range of issues including UK growth and productivity, regional devolution, place based economic strategy, skills, R&D and green infrastructure. He previously sat on the House of Commons Treasury committee and Brexit select committee and Chaired the Backbench Treasury Committee of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Wes bucked the trend to win his parliamentary seat at the 2015 election with the largest swing from the Conservatives to Labour in the country. Prior to that, Wes served as deputy leader and cabinet member for health and wellbeing of the London Borough of Redbridge. In his career outside politics, Wes served in the voluntary sector as a chief executive and in other senior leadership roles for a number of national charities focused on tackling inequality and educational disadvantage. He is a vice-president of the Local Government Association, a Fellow of the RSA and a former president of the National Union of Students. Wes grew up on a council estate in the East End of London and was the first person in his family to graduate from university. He is an alumnus of the Sutton Trust, which supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to access leading universities. Wes read history at Selwyn College, Cambridge.
Chief Executive Officer, Center for Countering Digital Hate
Imran Ahmed founded CCDH in December 2017. He frequently appears in the media as an expert in online malignant behaviour (identity-based hate; misinformation; extremism; fake news; trolling; and social media). Imran is a trustee of the charity, Victim Support. He was appointed to the Steering Committee of the UK Government's Commission on Countering Extremism Pilot Task Force in April 2020. Imran holds an MA in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and tweets at @imi_ahmed.
Chief Executive at ScottishPower
Keith Anderson is the Chief Executive at ScottishPower. He has responsibility for all ScottishPower businesses, the financial performance of the Company and the leadership of ScottishPower internally and externally. Prior to his appointment as Chief Executive, Keith was CEO of ScottishPower Renewables and led Iberdrola’s international offshore business. Prior to joining ScottishPower, Keith worked with some major financial institutions including The Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Life, as well as working as a management consultant with E&Y. Keith is an Honorary Fellow of the Energy Institute and a Visiting Professor of Strathclyde University.
Dr. Graeme Atherton
Director of NEON
Dr Graeme Atherton studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Trinity College Oxford and has been working in the field of education research and management since 1995. After 6 years leading Aimhigher work in London, he founded and now leads both AccessHE and NEON in the UK. Graeme holds Visiting Professorships at Amity University, London and Sunway University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He is a member of the board of the National Union of Students (NUS) and has produced over 200 conference papers, and publications.
Director of Strategy at Bruntwood
Jessica is the Strategy Director at Bruntwood having joined the business in April 2016, a new role to support the company’s ambitions for long term growth. She is working across the Group with the teams in our existing markets to look at future opportunities and setting this in the context of the way that cities are growing and changing. Previously Jessica worked at Manchester City Council as head of City Policy. She developed the 10 year Manchester Strategy ‘Our Manchester’, lead work on the Northern Powerhouse with Sir Richard Leese and other city leaders and took a central role in the devolution agenda. Before coming to Manchester Jessica spent 15 years in Whitehall in a diverse range of roles related to transport and local government.
Chief Executive at Warrington Borough Council
Steven is the Chief Executive at Warrington Borough Council, a role he has performed on a part time basis since 2012. He was also the Council Chief Executive from 1997 to 2003. Professor Broomhead holds the Chair of Entrepreneurial Education at Liverpool Hope University. In May 2011 he gave his inaugural professorial lecture “Making Britain enterprising, entrepreneurial, forward wealth creating again – restoring faith to the centre stage”. In 2007 the University of Chester named their new library the ‘Broomhead Library’. From 2003 to 2011 he was Chief Executive of the North West Development Agency with a budget of £1 billion per year and was responsible for the economic development and regeneration of the North West.
Dr. Moira Gilchrist
Vice President Strategic & Scientific Communications at PMI
Dr. Gilchrist was appointed Vice President Strategic & Scientific Communications in January 2018 and is responsible for leading PMI’sstrategic communications globally. She was PMI’s lead presenter at the US FDA’s Scientific Advisory Committee meeting on the Modified Risk Tobacco Product Application for IQOS, our heated tobacco product. In her prior role as Vice President Reduced-Risk Products Corporate Affairs, Dr. Gilchrist represented PMI at multiple public conferences and regulatory meetings. Before this she was based in our R&D function where she was Director of Scientific Engagement from 2014 to 2016. Dr. Gilchrist joined PMI in 2006, to work on our Reduced-Risk Product program and held roles in Research and Development as well as Commercialization. Prior to joining PMI, Dr. Gilchrist worked in the pharmaceutical sector for more than 10 years. She was a Principal Consultant in PwC and IBM’s pharmaceutical industry consulting groups and prior to that held positions in both industry and charity sectors developing new drug formulations. Dr. Gilchrist holds a degree in Pharmacy and a PhD. in Pharmaceutical Sciences, both from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.
Professor Peter John
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of The University of West London
Professor Peter John CBE is the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of The University of West London. He has worked in the sector for more than 30 years and joined the University of West London in late 2007 after a successful career at universities from all parts of the sector. A graduate of the Universities of Wales, London, Oxford (Jesus College) and Bristol (where he obtained his doctorate), Peter held various academic posts at Oxford Brookes University, the University of Reading, and the University of Bristol where he was a Reader in Professional Education. Subsequently, he was Faculty Dean, Pro Vice-Chancellor, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Plymouth.
Peter is currently the founding chair of Learning Analytics UK and chair of Access HE. He is a member of the West London Equalities Council, the Higher Education Careers Services Unit, the Local Strategic Partnership Board for Ealing, the UUK student and policy network, the All-Party Parliamentary University Group and the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee. He is also a Director of the Drama Studio London and the Westmont Enterprise Hub. In 2017, he was a finalist for the Guardian’s most inspiring university leader of the year, is a patron of both the Ealing Music and Film Festival and the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts while continuing to serve as a member of the Lord’s Taverners.
Peter is deeply committed to social mobility and the creation of a genuine educational meritocracy and was awarded CBE for services to Higher Education in 2020.
NUS UK National President
Larissa Kennedy was elected NUS UK National President, for a two-year term, and will take up her position on 1 July. Voting was open to 676 delegates from NUS member students’ unions between 16 March and 31 March with an overall 80% turnout of voters recorded. As president, Larissa will chair the NUS board, leading NUS from transition into reform and completion of a three-year turnaround programme. Larissa has served on NUS’ National Executive Council. Larissa has organised against sexual violence, marched against student fees and is a member of the Black student’s campaign. Larissa wants to build a movement that stretches across the whole of the UK, across students’ and trade unions across the world.
Professor Anand Menon
Director of the UK in a Changing Europe
Anand Menon is Director of the UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s College London. He has written widely on many aspects of EU politics and policy and on UK-EU relations. He is a frequent contributor to the media on matters relating to British relations with the EU.
Director of We Vape
Mark Oates is a harm reduction advocate and the Director of We Vape a consumer organisation which is standing up for the rights of vapers in the UK to continue to have access to their chosen safer alternative to smoking. He runs the UK Snus Users Association which is campaigning for the legalisation of snus in the UK and he is also a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute.
Dr Séamus O’Neil
CEO of the Northern Health Science Alliance Ltd.
Dr O’Neill is an experienced leader in the health sciences field with a career spanning both the NHS and Higher Education. Before joining the NHSA, Dr O’Neill was founding CEO at the AHSN for the North East and North Cumbria, where he led on the development and subsequent growth of the regional network.
CEO of Energy UK
Emma Pinchbeck is an expert in whole-economy decarbonisation and the energy transition. From 2016-2020, she served as Deputy CEO of the trade body Renewable UK, in which role she also sat on the Board and on the Board of Scottish Renewables. She holds several board advisory positions, including with Imperial College and Innovate-UK, and is a regular commentator on climate change and renewables in the media. Prior to joining Renewable UK, Emma was Head of the Climate Change team at WWF UK; in this role she led a team campaigning on the Paris Agreement, on international aviation emissions, and on the UK’s Coal Phase Out. Emma strongly supports efforts to improve diversity in the energy sector and improve working practices in industry, and has been a mentor to various young professionals around her work.
Head of Corporate Affairs at Sellafield
Jamie Reed is Sellafield Ltd’s Head of Corporate Affairs, and former Member of Parliament for Copeland. As a Member of Parliament Jamie served as both Shadow Environment and Shadow Health Minister in addition to being a UK representative on the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Jamie re-joined Sellafield Ltd in 2017, having previously worked for the company prior to becoming MP for Copeland in 2005. Born and raised in west Cumbria, his role with Sellafield Ltd enables him to work to develop the business whilst ensuring its activities have the most beneficial impact upon the local community.
Chief Technology Officer, PUBLIC
Andy is CTO at PUBLIC Group. He is equally happy writing code and helping startups with devOps as he is advising government on matters of data, security and ethics. He has led technology operations for multinational corporations and also done the ‘startup thing’ twice.
Broadcaster and author
Nina Schick is a broadcaster and author, specialising in how technology and Artificial Intelligence is reshaping politics. She has worked on the frontline of major political events over the last decade. This includes her work on Brexit; the EU’s migrant crisis; Emmanuel Macron's Presidential campaign; election interference; disinformation and information warfare. Nina has advised global leaders on deepfakes, including Joe Biden, the former Vice President of the United States; and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former Secretary-General of NATO. She is a contributor to Bloomberg, Sky, CNN and the BBC. She has been published by the Times, the Sunday Telegraph and the New Statesman. Half-German and half-Nepalese, Nina speaks seven languages including German, Spanish and French. She holds degrees from Cambridge University and University College London. She calls London, Berlin and Kathmandu home.
Head of Future Energy Services, Citizens Advice
Since August 2015 Dhara has led the team working on new and emerging energy supply and services markets to protect and promote the interests of consumers, current and future. The team works on energy policy related to household energy usage data, smart meters, heat networks, micro-generation, community energy and future heat options. The team also leads on policy areas that consider energy products and services that can help to improve consumer control and household energy efficiency.