Public Affairs: Soap Box - Elin Twigge, account director, PLMR

As the doors opened to Labour Conference 2012 and Manchester Central started to bustle with activity, I was taken back to the last time I was here as a lobbyist with Labour 'comrades' in September 2010.

Sat in the auditorium then, as Ed Miliband was elected leader, I remember feeling a shift in the atmosphere within the party. People emptied the hall on that day and scurried off into huddles of 'Team Ed' or 'Team David'.

At fringe events groups spoke in hushed voices over finger buffets, pontificating the future of the party that was either saved or doomed, depending to whom you spoke. This year was very different. Reversing the lowering of the top rate of income tax, repealing the NHS reforms and breaking up the banks if they did not sign up to 'responsible capitalism' - this is a Labour Party that has abandoned the huddles and cliques to get back to business.

The frustrated energy at conference suggested Labour is sick of being in opposition and realises it must pull together for the fight in the run-up to 2015.

The self-styled embodiment of the new, united Labour this week has been Chuka Umunna, who has been dropping the buzz phrase 'we're a broad church party' at every opportunity. Such is his commitment to 'United Labour' that he took the unprecedented step of speaking at both the Compass and Progress rallies back-to-back.

For someone strongly aligned with the more left-leaning Compass group, to take his place shoulder-to-shoulder with the Blairites sent out a strong signal and, dare I say it, showed good leadership.

As a public affairs professional at conference, the new energy and impatience from Labour was welcomed. Far from the flatness of the past two years, it seems like policy ideas are now coming together and PLMR's clients in the public and private sectors are taking every opportunity to engage to help shape that thinking. The church doors are open.

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