What to look out for in Liverpool

The Cardiff Central Labour MP Jo Stevens told me she hoped everyone would be "lovely and friendly" to each other at her party's conference in Liverpool on the weekend with an expression that was clearly more hope than expectation.

Everyone I speak to in or around the Labour party is expecting Jeremy Corbyn to win.

That is not to discount an Owen Smith victory but if he does win, it'll be a big surprise for many.

There are a number of things to look out for early on in the conference.

Apologies if this is a blinding statement of the obvious but the first thing to look closely at is the result.


If Jeremy Corbyn wins by an even bigger margin than last year, when he got nearly 60%, then it will make it more likely that a rump of Labour MPs will simply fall in behind him.

Any rebellion would be up against a man who had won two huge mandates within the space of a just over a year. If it's closer, then it makes it easier for Labour MPs to continue to cause problems for their leader.

And then there's the immediate decision to be made on how to select the shadow cabinet.

Labour's ruling national executive committee spent eight hours earlier in the week in talks without coming to an agreement.

There will be another meeting of the NEC after the new leader is announced.

Olive branch

The MPs want the chance to vote on who should be in the shadow cabinet to try to ensure there are people reflecting a broad range of views from the party.

Supporters of Mr Corbyn want the members to have a say to ensure their voices are heard.

MPs I've spoken to like Wayne David and Jo Stevens see this as a hugely symbolic moment.

If the MPs are given a vote, it'll be seen as an olive branch and something that will set the tone for future relations between them and the leadership.

It could be a bumpy ride.