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Five big ideas from John McDonnell's conference speech including £500 each for workers

Liverpool Echo logo Liverpool Echo 24/09/2018 Nick Tyrrell
a man wearing a suit and tie: Staff Picture: Andy Stenning Daily Mirror John McDonnell speech at the Labour conference Liverpool with Jeremy Corbyn on the platform © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Staff Picture: Andy Stenning Daily Mirror John McDonnell speech at the Labour conference Liverpool with Jeremy Corbyn on the platform

Labour’s John McDonnell used a speech to party activists and politicians to reveal why one Liverpool icon is his personal hero.

His speech this lunchtime was one of the biggest so far of this year’s party conference, which is taking place on the city’s waterfront exhibition complex around the Echo Arena.

Jeremy Corbyn’s second-in-command offered some new ideas to enthusiastic members in the conference hall and gave a sense of how Labour would look to reshape Britain if they’re elected.

Here’s what we learned.

Jeremy Corbyn, Bill Shankly posing for a picture © Credits: Liverpool Echo

Liverpool Echo

LFC icon Bill Shankly is a ‘hero’ to McDonnell

Liverpool played a role in Mr McDonnell’s speech without the shadow chancellor even uttering a word.

Before he began his speech, the audience at the Arena and Conference Centre were treated to a montage of LFC manager Bill Shankly .

Mr Shankly, who was described as one of Mr McDonnell’s heroes, was known for speaking about how socialism fitted in to his philosophy for managing LFC, as well as his life more generally.

And in his final words to the conference, talking about the future of the UK, the shadow chancellor tried to echo that sentiment, saying: "Like Bill Shankly, we’ll be proud to call that future, socialism".

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a close up of a piece of paper: Council tax can provide real issues for many people © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Council tax can provide real issues for many people

Plans for workers to be ‘£500 a year better off’

One of the main new policies from Mr McDonnell’s speech was a plan to expand the rights of employees to be part-owners of their companies - and be better off by up to £500.

The plan described by the shadow chancellor could see companies with more than 250 employees forced to create an ‘Inclusive Ownership Fund’ for workers to obtain shares and dividends.

Mr McDonnell said: “We believe that workers, who create the wealth of a company, should share in its ownership and, yes, in the returns that it makes.”

a large building: Entrance gates to the £335m New Royal Liverpool Hospital are firmly locked © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Entrance gates to the £335m New Royal Liverpool Hospital are firmly locked

No more fiascos like the Royal

Though Mr McDonnell didn’t mention Liverpool’s empty and unfinished new hospital by name, the shadow chancellor laid out his thoughts on the situation at the Royal pretty clearly.

It’s believed the new hospital could be two years from being completed despite a large amount of the work being done.

The collapse of construction giant Carillion which built it has been compounded by the emergence of a number of major errors in the construction of the building, meaning it’s now as far away from being completed as ever, despite being due to open in spring of 2017.

He slammed private finance initiatives, like the one used to fund the new hospital, and said that under Labour they would never be used again.

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a man wearing a suit and tie: John McDonnell says the Tories ‘should face the people’ in a General Election © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited John McDonnell says the Tories ‘should face the people’ in a General Election

He wants an election - rather than another EU referendum

One of the major points of debate at this year’s conference has been Brexit, and whether Labour should support a second referendum on EU membership.

Mr McDonnell had already spoken about this earlier today and he used his speech to clarify his views further.

He said he favoured another general election over a second referendum, saying he felt the Tories ‘should face the people’ over the issues facing the country.

That means Labour’s divisions over one of the key issues at this conference will still be clearly visible heading in to the Brexit debate tomorrow.

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a close up of a red car: Royal Mail vans © Joe Giddens/PA Wire Royal Mail vans

Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Nationalisation, nationalisation, nationalisation

Mr McDonnell’s views on the privatisation of major businesses in the UK over past decades are well known.

But he used his speech in Liverpool to point out how far a future Labour government might go towards bringing back public ownership of things like Royal Mail, the train companies and utilities.

He promised the water industry would be the first big industry to see the changes, in what he called ‘the biggest extension of economic democratic rights this country has ever seen’.

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