Labour’s Liverpool conference: desperately seeking security?

The Labour Party’s difficulties do not appear confined to its leadership situation and position in the opinion polls. Its annual conference, scheduled for Liverpool next month, could be facing cancellation for the want of a security contractor.

The Times newspaper alleged today (10 August) that leaked emails to Labour’s general secretary, Iain McNicol, revealed the party had failed to secure services from a new security contractor having cancelled its long-running deal with G4S.

The Times claimed McNicol was warned that the Home Office and police could shut down the conference if an alternative service were not found.

The newspaper suggested Labour had boycotted G4S because of its links with Israeli prisons.

It also said the party was believed to have approached five companies, three of which had declined the contract and one which withdrew its bid after a risk assessment.

Showsec, which was thought to be in frame for the contract, declined to comment on the matter.

A G4S spokesman, however, did tell CN: “G4S has secured the Labour Party’s annual conference for over 20 years and the feedback from officials and the police on our work last year, as in the past, was extremely positive.

 “Clearly we are disappointed not to continue such a successful working relationship.”

When CN contacted the Labour Party about the story, a spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on commercial arrangements.”

The conference organisers, however, were working in full swing, 10 August, and told CN they expected the conference to go ahead “100%”.

Conference venue ACC Liverpool remained tight-lipped on the matter, telling CN it was not in any position to make a comment.

Major event security providers would normally plan a complex annual conference of this nature up to a year in advance because of questions around accreditation, logistical considerations and police checks. If a contractor is not yet in place, it could be a matter of serious concern for delegates.

Photo credit: McCoy Wynne

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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