The Library of the Reform Club in London was full to capacity on December 5th with 120 guests attending the 2017 Annual Dinner of Labour Business.

(all videos courtesy of

Guests heard a rallying cry from Labour Business Chair Hamish Sandison to “make Labour the natural party of business,” and there were keynote speeches from senior Labour Front Benchers, including Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, and Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade Barry Gardiner MP.The keynote speakers were joined by other members of Labour’s Front Bench economics and business teams, and leading Parliamentarians, including Shadow Treasury Minister Anneliese Dodds MP, Shadow Business Minister Bill Esterson MP, Labour Business Vice President Seema Malhotra MP, and Chair of the Labour Business Backbench Parliamentary Group Stephen Kinnock MP.

(Photos courtesy of Davit Gulakyan - Sky Blue Photography)

The event was attended by a wide cross-section of business people from all sectors of the economy, from all parts of the UK and from all shapes and sizes of business - small, medium, and large.   It was the biggest turnout for a Labour Business Annual Dinner in recent history, reflecting the fact that business is now beating a path to Labour’s door.   Can it be that they think Labour might form the next Government?

Welcoming guests, Mr Sandison said: “Through business engagement, policy development and media campaigning, we’re busting the myth that the Tories are the party of business, and making the case for Labour as the natural party of business.   And we’re winning the argument.

“The business people we talk to have completely lost confidence in this Government.   They know that you cannot grow a business without investment in your people and your technology.   Yet the Tories have failed to invest in our economy, pursuing instead an ideological obsession with austerity which hasn’t even delivered the deficit reductions they promised.  As a result, productivity in the UK is down, our living standards are down, and economic growth forecasts are down.  By contrast, at the last general election, Labour rejected austerity and committed itself to government investment in the nation’s skills and infrastructure through a carefully costed programme.   And that’s one reason why Labour’s general election manifesto was so well received in the business community.”

Reviewing the past year, Mr Sandison added: “We’re deadly serious about business engagement.   We’ve supported the Labour Shadow Front Bench Treasury and Business teams at regional economic conferences and business roundtables in London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Newcastle, and Manchester.   And we’ve invited Constituency Labour Parties across the UK to appoint Business Liaison Officers to carry on that engagement with businesses at a local level, in partnership with their Trade Union Liaison Officers. The message is clear:  Labour is listening to business.

“Based on the evidence we received from the business community, we submitted substantive policy papers for Labour’s 2017 general election manifesto on macro-economic policy, on industrial strategy, on freelancing, and on corporate governance.   And there’s no doubt that Labour’s manifesto played a key part in delivering a far better than predicted result on June 8th.”

Mr Sandison concluded: “That’s how, with more Labour Party members in frontline business roles than there are Tory Party members who are active in business, and with more popular, evidence-based, pro-business policies, we are winning the argument that Labour is ‘the natural party of business’.

“And that’s how, by building a partnership between businesses, trade unions, workers, entrepreneurs, and government for a more sustainable kind of growth, which only Labour can deliver, we will win the next general election”.

Annual Dinner 2017
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