Liverpool played host to the Labour Party autumn conference for the second time in recent years this week, attracting more than 10,000 visitors to the city and the gaze of the national media spotlight.
The four-day conference at the ACC Liverpool exhibition centre was preceded by a special event on Saturday, where the result of the Labour leadership election was announced.
This brought with it huge attention, with all of the major TV and radio news and current affairs programmes and presenters coming to Merseyside.
Jeremy Corbyn, who defeated rival challenger Owen Smith to remain the party’s leader, urged delegates to unite and take on the Conservative Government in his closing address today.
YouTube: Labour Party
Evoking the name of one of the city’s iconic characters, Mr Corbyn told the conference: “Let us do it in the spirit of the great Scots-born Liverpool football manager Bill Shankly, who said: ‘The socialism I believe in is everybody working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the rewards. That’s how I see football – that’s how I see life.'”
Elsewhere, the restaurants, bars and hotels were buzzing with intrigue, gossip and speculation about the future of the party and whether it could win a General Election.
Labour – which has MPs in all the Liverpool constituencies at Westminster, along with control of the local council – has long had a strong connection with this city due to its history of heavy industry, trade unionism and political upheaval.
Liverpool can also be said to be one of the most left-wing cities in the country. Research conducted by Trinity Mirror Data United showed that of the 1,187,529 votes cast in Liverpool since 1983, 80% went to Labour – exceeding other northern cities such as Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds.
When asked why he thought Liverpool had been chosen to hold the autumn conference again, green belt protester, Charles Barnes, told JMU Journalism: “It’s due to the fact there is big support here for a change in politics as we know it.
“It’s to democratise politics more, so people like me can have a voice – and not just have a voice but also be listened to and actually hope that this feeds back into the hierarchies of the Labour Party and that they try to do something about it. For people to live in a healthy environment is a human right. We need to support the protection of our green belts.”
Labour Party member, Shamon Mattoo, told JMU Journalism: “We need to address local communities, particularly white working-class communities who might feel disillusioned and might be going to UKIP.
“They’re going to UKIP because they feel like the Labour Party is not engaging with them and I think under his [Corbyn’s] leadership we can somehow find a way to engage with them.”
After last visiting in 2011 with Ed Miliband as leader, Labour has also made plans to return to King’s Dock again in 2018, making Liverpool an apparent party conference favourite.
YouTube: BBC News