The party’s in town

Labour party leader Ed Miliband
Labour party leader Ed Miliband
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Labour leader Ed Miliband will be in Blackpool this weekend as the resort hosts the party’s regional conference.

Mr Miliband will set out a five point plan for jobs and growth in the North West.

Around 1,000 delegates are expected to flood the resort to attend the three-day gathering at the Winter Gardens and the Imperial Hotel.

Mr Miliband said he was delighted to be bringing the big event back to the resort, a move which will be welcomed by businesses and hoteliers as an end of season boost to the coffers.

He added: “We have had many happy conferences in Blackpool in the past and it’s good to be back with both old friends and a new generation of members.

“These are worrying times for North West families, struggling to make ends meet with higher food prices and energy bills and worried about jobs and their children’s futures.

“Week-by-week, day-by-day, with every downgrade in growth, with every new set of unemployment figures, we can see the Government’s plan is failing. It’s an economic emergency.

“So far the Regional Growth Fund has helped only two businesses and neither of these is in the North West.

Here in Lancashire the news BAE Systems is cutting nearly 3,000 UK jobs will have a devastating impact.”

Other members of the shadow cabinet due to attend the conference which starts on Friday include Ivan Lewis, Stephen Twigg and Maria and Angela Eagle.

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy will speak on Sunday and is expected to cover local job cuts at BAE Systems.

The last major Labour annual conference in Blackpool was 2002, when former US president Bill Clinton was among the speakers.

Claire Smith, secretary for Stay Blackpool said: “I am pleased the conference is coming back to see the improvements made in Blackpool.

“They abandoned us in our hour of need, but their return does indicate we have upped our game.

“It will be great for the hotels, restaurants and bars, hopefully it will encourage some of the bigger conferences to return in future years.”