Rachel Reeves MP writes about why she is standing for the Conference Arrangements Committee.
I joined the Labour Party when I was 17. The following year I had my first chance to attend Conference. I’ve been attending Conference every year since, including one year where I had the privilege of being a constituency delegate and several years where I was the delegate of my trade union, Unite.

This year will be the second time I have attended Conference as MP for Leeds West.

Many of you already know me as someone committed to the importance of Conference as Labour’s sovereign decision making body. I know what an important forum it is for members and constituencies, and want to make sure that the issues that matter to constituencies and their delegates get priority on Conference floor.

I want to encourage more CLPs to send delegates but also make it more relevant to constituencies and members. That’s why when I get to Conference this year, I will be seeking election to the Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC).

If elected, I will do all I can to make conference accessible and enjoyable for members and delegates, and ultimately relevant to the future direction of the Party.

As a constituency MP, I am campaigning against government cuts to school, NHS, library and social services budgets. As the first woman to represent a Leeds constituency in Parliament since 1970, I am passionate about bringing more people, from a variety of backgrounds into politics.

As shadow pensions minister I am also helping to shape Labour’s policies for the next election and beyond as we take on this Tory-led Government. That battle must be taken up by Conference. It is a great opportunity for our members to have a voice on a national level, and help determine our direction and policies as we take on the government and prepare for the next general election.

Stephen Twigg, chair of Progress, did an excellent job for 12 years in his role on CAC. During this time Conference became more accessible for people with disabilities, childcare was improved and first time delegates were given more support. I hope to carry on that good work and will be backing Seema Malhotra to work with me. I hope we can count on your support to work with you and take Conference forward.

Rachel Reeves MP is shadow pensions minister