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‘White heat of technology’ is way forward, says Rachel Reeves


Rachel Reeves MP

Shadow minister to address University of Bradford

Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office Rachel Reeves (Lab, Leeds West) will invoke the words of Harold Wilson’s famous ‘white heat of technology’ speech when she addresses the University of Bradford tomorrow (Thurs March 11).

She will be speaking at the Harold Wilson Lecture on March 11, from 6pm to 7.15pm, delivering a talk entitled: Revisiting White Heat in an Age of Insecurity.

Rachel Reeves said: “I am excited to be delivering the Harold Wilson Memorial Lecture on what would have been his 105th birthday. Wilson left Britain a more modern, more free and more equal country. As a West Yorkshire MP, I have always looked to him for inspiration. 

“This lecture is a great opportunity to reflect on Wilson's words and actions. In 1963, at a moment of real optimism about the potential of technology to deliver prosperity and solve global problems, Wilson delivered his 'white heat' speech - a speech which remains powerfully relevant today.

“I want to take this opportunity to reflect on how we might rise to some of the big challenges ahead of us as a country - and how we can build a fairer, more secure country as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford, said: "I am  honoured that Rachel Reeves will be delivering our annual Harold Wilson lecture, as champion for gender equality I am sure our students, staff and alumni will be inspired by her lecture in this week of International Women’s Day.

“The University is determined to build its foundations and strengths as laid out by Wilson in science, technology and innovation to enhance economic and social growth, unlocking the potential of our region and the North in a progressive and inclusive way is a core part of our University Strategy.”

Wilson served as Prime Minister twice (1964-1970 and 1974-1976) and was the first Chancellor of the University, having formally opened the Main Building (later renamed The Richmond Building) at Bradford Institute of Technology in June 1965. The University gained its charter a year later. Bradford is one of a handful of universities founded as technology universities, representing a key component of Wilson’s vision for improving the British economy. Wilson remained its Chancellor until 1985.

Rachel Reeves has served as Member of Parliament for Leeds West since 2010, and has previously served as Shadow Secretary of State for Work Pensions and Chair of the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee.

Before entering politics, she worked as an economist for the Bank of England and for HBOS. She is the author of two books, Alice in Westminster: The Political Life of Alice Bacon, and most recently Women of Westminster: The MPs Who Changed Politics, as well as a number of pamphlets including The Everyday Economy (2018).

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