Labour deserts 'seedy' Blackpool for the soft life in chablis- on-sea

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The Independent Online
Labour's old left has put up with a lot recently, but surely the brothers will never stand for this. The men from Millbank have ended 70 years of tradition by dumping Blackpool from the annual conference circuit.

In a move which will enshrine Labour as the party of Chablis and seafood rather than beer and battered cod, it will meet on the south coast, hundreds of miles from its former heartland, ending a cherished tradition of infighting and politicking along the prom, accompanied by all the tacky joys Blackpool has to offer. The party says the town is too expensive to get to, its wildly rococo Winter Gardens conference centre too cramped and its hotels too seedy.

Fans of the resort will argue that its famously fierce landladies and over-the-top entertainment are part of the package. But now Labour's National Executive Committee has decided that after one last, long-booked trip to the North this autumn, the gathering will be held in Bournemouth next year, followed by two years running in Brighton.

A party spokesman said the decision was taken with "great reluctance" and he hoped delegates would return to Blackpool once its problems had been solved. The conference was first held there in 1927, and the party has returned every second year since

1976.

"One factor was the quality of the hall itself. We felt there was a lack of space at Blackpool. It also costs more to go to Blackpool for transport and staffing. There was also some concern at the quality of the hotels and rates that the hotels charge," the spokesman said.

Predictably, Dennis Skinner, the left-wing Labour MP for Bolsover, voted against the move.

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