LAST weekend was Scottish Labour’s annual conference in Dundee. It involved the usual mix of speeches, debates and policy fringe events, including an excellent leader’s speech from Richard Leonard.

Among the conference debates was one on P1 testing, initiated by a motion from East Lothian Labour Party, backing an end to National Standardised Assessments at P1 stage. This contentious issue, which has caused great concern among many parents and teachers, is one of the SNP’s key failures on education. In September last year, the Scottish Parliament voted to halt testing at P1, but Education Secretary John Swinney has so far refused to respect Parliament on the issue.

The motion also called for other assessments, at P4, P7 and S3, to be reviewed, for the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy to be restored, and for Scotland to be re-entered into internationally recognised measurements of literacy, numeracy and science (PIRLS and TIMSS). I am pleased Labour in East Lothian is helping to shape policy on these vitally important issues.

Another key feature of conference was the focus on the environment. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell promised that under Labour, Scotland would be at the heart of a green industrial revolution in our energy sector. He highlighted the failure to invest to secure Scotland’s rightful place as a renewable energy super power, with the good jobs to go with it, and promised that Labour’s ambitious plans for expanding our renewables energy sector and rolling out a UK-wide retrofitting programme would see tens of thousands of new jobs created.

Scotland can be at the heart not just of Labour’s programme to transform people’s lives, but also to ensuring that we have a planet to leave behind for future generations.