I HAVE just about recovered from a busy weekend at the Scottish Labour Conference – and what a weekend it was.

I was delighted to speak at the Engender, Elect Her fringe event on Saturday morning – looking at how we can encourage more women into politics and public life. It was a hugely engaging event and encouraging.

Only 30% of our elected representatives are women – nowhere near a reflection of our society – and we must do all we can to ensure that women have every opportunity to be elected and it was an honour to be part of that discussion.  

Women are underrepresented at all levels of government and it’s documented that women of colour can experience racism, sexism and Islamophobia from all quarters.

All parties must do more to ensure the discrimination women face is rectified.

It’s beyond time to select, elect and support women from all walks of life at all levels of government. As deputy leader of Glasgow Labour group, it is incredibly important for me to continue to add my voice to ensure women are heard at the heart of local government.

The Scottish Government made history recently with its first woman of colour in a ministerial role.

It is essential that all parties take action to ensure all political chambers reflect wider society.

At other parts of the conference, we heard from our Scottish leader Anas Sarwar as well as our UK leader Sir Keir Starmer. They talked about the creation of GB Energy, an energy company headquartered here in Scotland which would give jobs to Scottish people and allow us to create our own energy.

They talked about reforms that would help to lift children out of poverty. The importance of Brand Scotland – taking our unique Scottish brand abroad, helping to deliver inward investment and jobs.

Both leaders are energised, focused and ready to deliver the change that Scotland needs.

And some of the debates were increasingly pressing – especially on the call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, as this marked a pivotal moment in the party’s stance on international conflicts. This was not just about a policy position; it was a bold statement on the values and principles that Scottish Labour wish to uphold on the global stage.

The motion’s passage, calling for an immediate end to the crisis, unconditional release of hostages by Hamas and the end of rocket fire into and out of Gaza, goes beyond the immediate context of Gaza. It signifies a broader commitment to peace, humanitarian aid and a just resolution to conflicts that respect the dignity and rights of all involved.

This is particularly poignant given the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza, where the impact of the conflict has been devastating on civilians. All lives matter.

The emphasis on the universal value of life and the responsibility of states to exercise restraint reflected a principled approach to foreign policy. It’s a reminder that in the face of conflict, political leaders have a moral obligation to prioritise the protection of civilians and work tirelessly towards peaceful resolutions.

That decision by Scottish Labour is a call to action for other political parties and leaders in the UK and beyond. It challenges them to take a stand, not just on the Gaza conflict but on all international crises, based on principles of humanity, peace and justice.

In the words of William Wilberforce: “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”

It is important to have principled and moral clarity in shaping foreign policy that reflects our shared humanity.

It is clear now, more than ever after the weekend, that only Labour can deliver the change that Scotland needs.