Labour's free childcare pledge

Labour says it would increase the amount of free childcare for working parents of three to four-year-olds from 15 to 25 hours. Ed Balls has questioned whether the HS2 rail link plan "is the best way to spend £50 billion for the future of our country"

Latest ITV News reports

Labour will try and stop Royal Mail sale

The government wants to sell Royal Mail
The government wants to sell Royal Mail Credit: PA Wire

Labour will try and stop the privatisation of Royal Mail by forcing a fresh Commons vote, the Shadow postal affairs minister Ian Murray said.

Mr Murray told a fringe meeting at the Labour conference, the party was concerned that privatisation would hit services and threaten post office closures.

"We think we can have one last vote when we get back from the recess. Let's push for a vote in Parliament and stop the privatisation before it starts, for the benefit of the postal service and its workers." he said.

Read: Coalition plans to sell Royal Mail

Ed Balls 'horrified' by Damian McBride allegations

Damian McBride with Gordon Brown in 2008
Damian McBride with Gordon Brown in 2008 Credit: REUTERS/Toby Melville

The Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has said he was "horrified" by reports that his former boss Gordon Brown had asked his spin doctor to "brief against" members of the Labour cabinet.

Mr Brown's former spin doctor Damian McBride said he carried out political assassinations against three former cabinet ministers John Reid, Charles Clarke and Ivan Lewis, at the former Prime Minister's request.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Labour Party Conference, Ed Balls said: "I have never done or sanctioned any briefing against a shadow cabinet or cabinet colleague."

Read: McBride allegations overshadow Labour conference

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Labour 'not given up on HS2'

Labour has not given up on high speed rail but wants to ensure that "costs are kept in check", a source from the party has told Associated Press.

"What we have always said is that we have got to manage these costs properly, we can't let these costs spiral out of control," said the source.

"What we need to look at is how those costs have got out of control and whether it is the best way to spend £50 billion."

"We have been pretty clear and consistent that we support the principle of a North-South rail link," he said. "There is backing for the project, but not backing for this project without regard for cost or with a blank cheque."

Read: Blog by ITV News Deputy Political Correspondent Chris Ship 'Labour applies the brakes on high speed rail'

Damian McBride leaves Labour conference

Damian McBride (centre) leaves the Labour party conference
Damian McBride (centre) leaves the Labour party conference Credit: Reuters/Stephen Wermuth

A former spin doctor to Gordon Brown, whose explosive memoir overshadowed the start of the Labour Party conference, has left the convention in Brighton.

Damian McBride's book about his time with the former Prime Minister is being seralised in the Daily Mail.

He claimed that the Labour Leader Ed Miliband was involved in a smear campaign, during Gordon Brown's administration, something the party leadership denies.

Read: McBride's book on Brown era overshadows Labour conference

Unite leader urges 'fightback' against Bullingdon Boys

The leader of the Unite union has urged Labour party supporters to "fightback" against attacks on workers rights by former members of the Bullingdon Boys club.

Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite said: "If this Government continues to attack us and continues to restrict our rights, let me warn them that if they push us far outside the law let it be so on their own heads."

"We have no intention of letting the Bullingdon Boys restrict the rights of our working people. We will fight for the values we treasure, which will stand the test of time."

The Bullingdon Boys is an Oxford University drinking club which had David Cameron and Boris Johnson as members.

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Labour: Over 50s deserve 'premium' welfare service

Labour has unveiled its new plan to give over 50s a "more generous benefits system", by restricting out-of-work benefits for young people.

A young man enters a job centre
Young people are currently entitled to job seekers allowance if they have two years of national insurance contributions Credit: Reuters/Stephen Wermuth

The shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne told his party's conference in Brighton, that individuals who were in the 50s will have contributed more than £100,000 to the welfare state during their working lives, and so were entitled to a "premium service" if they were ever made redundant.

The party would finance the extra benefits by increasing the number of years unemployed young people, have to pay national insurance to qualify for contributory job seekers allowance.

Balls questions if HS2 is 'the best way to spend £50bn'

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the HS2 rail project has been mismanaged by the government and that there would be "no blank cheque" from Labour after costs escalated.

Ed Balls claimed David Cameron had mismanaged the HS2 project. Credit: Stefan Wermuth/PA Archive

Watch: Balls jokes about Cameron's 'surprisingly small towel'

He told Labour's party conference: "We support investment in better transport links for the future, we continue to back the idea of a new north-south rail link but under this government the High Speed 2 project has been totally mismanaged and the costs have shot up to £50 billion.

"David Cameron and George Osborne have made clear they will go full steam ahead with this project – no matter how much the costs spiral up and up. They seem willing to put their own pride and vanity above best value for money for the taxpayer.

"We will not take this irresponsible approach. Let us be clear, in tough times – when there is less money around and a big deficit to get down – there will be no blank cheque from me as a Labour chancellor for this project or for any project.

"Because the question is - not just whether a new High Speed line is a good idea or a bad idea, but whether it is the best way to spend £50 billion for the future of our country."

Read: Labour opens up its election pledges to watchdog

Balls jokes about Cameron's 'surprisingly small towel'

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has made a joke about David Cameron's manhood at Labour's party conference in Brighton.

Mr Balls, who was referring to a picture published in The Daily Telegraph of a topless Prime Minister, said he had a "surprisingly small towel".

ITV News' Political Editor Tom Bradby said: "I think that Ed Balls suggesting the Prime Minister is somewhat small in the manhood department is a bit of a new low, even for modern politics."

Click here for the latest from Labour's party conference in Brighton

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