Politics: Labour conference - Labour apology over pass fiasco

The Labour Party has apologised after several charities were unable to attend parts of last week's party conference in Manchester because their passes were not issued in time.

Thomas Hughes-Hallett, chief executive of Marie Curie Cancer Care, was unable to attend the charity's own fringe meeting inside the security perimeter at the Midland Hotel on Sunday night.

Marie Curie staff were among those forced to queue, some returning on successive days, while conference staff printed passes for which charities had paid between £117.50 and £528.75.

The MS Society, Marie Curie's partner for the event, had to proceed alone.

"It was frustrating," said Tom Elkins, policy and campaigns manager at the charity.

A spokeswoman for the Labour Party said: "The party would like to apologise to Marie Curie Cancer Care for the difficulties met in gaining accreditation to attend our conference.

"The party sincerely regrets that this happened and will be thoroughly reviewing its procedures to avoid any such occurrence in future. In the meantime, we will contact the charity to consider appropriate redress for the difficulties that occurred at this year's conference."

Other charities were also affected. Seb Elsworth, policy and development officer at Acevo, gave up queuing and missed chief executive Stephen Bubb speaking at the Shaw Trust fringe. He was, however, able to attend some of the large number of fringe meetings held outside the security perimeter.

NSPCC staff are also thought to have had problems. The charity refused to comment, saying it would take up any problems privately and through "the relevant channels".

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