UK Politics

Labour signs deal with conference security firm

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The Labour Party has signed up a company to provide security at its annual conference meaning the event will go ahead as planned.

It follows a stand-off between the GMB union and another security company, Showsec, over union recognition, which threatened to derail the event.

Labour's General Secretary Iain McNicol announced the party had signed a deal with OCS Group.

The firm is the existing supplier of security at the Liverpool ACC venue.

Mr McNicol added: "We look forward to working together on what will be an excellent event."

Leadership election

A question mark had been hanging over Labour's annual gathering, which gets under way in just over four weeks' time, after G4S said it was now too late for it to step in and organise protection arrangements.

Labour's ruling National Executive Committee voted last year to ditch G4S over claims the firm was linked to Israeli prisons.

The GMB objected to the only firm to bid for the contract to provide security at this year's conference, Showsec, saying the company had refused to sign a union recognition agreement before the event.

In an effort to avoid the conference being picketed by GMB members, Labour approached G4S only to be told by the firm it could not step in and provide security.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had earlier insisted the conference would go ahead.

Asked if he accepted the situation looked "messy", Mr Corbyn said: "Many things are complicated in life. We'll sort this out. Don't worry about it, the conference will take place."

The result of Mr Corbyn's leadership battle with Owen Smith will be announced on the eve of the formal start of the conference.

In a statement issued after the party's announcement it had secured a security provider, Showsec said it withdrawn from its bid for the contract.

A spokesman said: "As a company which puts the welfare of our staff ahead of commercial gain, we no longer consider the operating environment for our security delivery to be conducive to a positive experience for our staff, especially given the tone of some of the comments made by the GMB union."

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