The Labour Party in the UK are at risk of having to cancel their annual party conference due to a last minute planning issue to do with security. Security company G4S have refused to a last minute deal to provide security for the large scale event which is due to open in Liverpool in weeks.
To add to this the result of the ongoing leadership battle between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith is due to be announced a couple of days before the main conference on September 24. Without security in place it is very likely that both events will have to be cancelled.
G4S has been subject to a boycott by the Labour party after a vote at last year’s conference. They have now stated that even if the boycott was lifted there simply isn’t enough time for them to work on such an event and will therefore not be offering their services. GMB, one of the UK’s largest unions and a powerful force in the Labour party have thretened to picket the event if Labour tries to hand the contract to Showsec as they do not recognise trade unions.
Eric Alexander, MD for G4S events said that, “Safety for delegates and our staff is our priority and at this late stage and with our teams committed elsewhere, we are not in a position to step in and provide security for the conference. Security officers need to be cleared and accredited to work, detailed risk assessments made, safety and security plans with the Home Office and local police forces drawn up and supporting logistics, such as security equipment and staff accommodation, put in place.
“Our team of more than 100 security staff 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 were disappointed not to continue such a successful working relationship.”
At present Labour MPs have been left with the unenviable position of having to either cross the picket or boycott the event should Showsec be used. Insiders have said that unless an alternative to G4S and Showsec can be found it’s likely that the event will not be able to go ahead.