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Post-Brexit cloud to hover over 2016 Labour Party conference

September 25, 2016 - UNITED KINGDOM

The opposition Labour Party holds its annual conference in Liverpool with the leadership battle finally settled. The result of the members' postal ballot will have been announced the previous day.

The party will have chosen between Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, accused of doing too little to prevent Britain's vote in June to exit the European Union, and Owen Smith, former shadow work and pensions secretary.

Corbyn refused to step down after an overwhelming vote of no-confidence following so-called Brexit, and some 50 members of his shadow cabinet resigned in protest. He pledged to "extend democracy" with new union powers and referendums to "challenge" privatisation.

Smith cast himself as a unifier of the party, and the individual best suited for taking Labour into the next general election. That's due in 2020, but might be called earlier by the governing Conservative Party's new leader and Prime Minister, Theresa May.

Brexit has also divided the Conservatives. The party that repairs itself fastest and is first to announce a convincing post-exit plan will have a head start in the election.

Some 10,000 delegates and visitors are expected to take part in the Labour conference debates that shape the party's policies.

Welcome to Annual Conference

Why Brexit Is Tearing British Politics Apart (Slate June 28, 2016)

Labour leadership: Ballot papers for contest being sent out (BBC 22 Aug 2016)

Date written/update: 2016-08-24