Home » The M People founder says the band are “furious” over the use of the song at the Tory party conference.
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The M People founder says the band are “furious” over the use of the song at the Tory party conference.

M People founder Mike Pickering has said the band are “furious” that their song was used to welcome Prime Minister Liz Truss at the Conservative Party conference.

Ms Truss performed in Birmingham to their 1990s hit ‘Moving On Up’, featuring vocalist Heather Small, before giving her keynote address.

Released in 1993 by the Manchester-based band, the dance anthem reached No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart.

Pickering told the PA news agency: “They [the band] are angry. Heather’s son James is a Labor councillor. Hopefully most people know they’ve pirated it away from us.

“I imagine he won’t be using it for much longer.”

He added: “I’m absolutely gutted by this because they’re killing live tours for bands and artists… I’m from Mancunian and getting from Manchester to London is harder than getting to mainland Europe these days.”

Pickering said the band had contacted their lawyers but had been told there was little that could be done.

He said: “The rest of the band have been calling me saying, ‘For God’s sake, how can we stop this?’

I just looked up the lyrics. It’s amazing. I hope he takes note. It’s about, “Go pack your bags and get out.”

Mike Pickering, M People

“And we just called the lawyers and they said, ‘You can’t really stop this.’ We can send a cease and desist letter, but you can’t.

“They can play what they like, which seems a little weird to me.”

Ms Truss broke into the song’s famous chorus: “Cause I’m movin’ on up, you’re movin’ on up, you’re movin’ on out / Movin’ on up, nothing can stop me / Movin’ on up, you ‘re movin’ out / Time to break free, nothing can stop me.

The opening lyrics of the song read: “You’ve done me wrong, your time is up”, while the last line of the first verse reads: “Get out of here now, baby, pack your bags”.

Pickering added that Ms Truss should pay attention to the lyrics.

He told PA: “I just looked at the lyrics. It’s amazing. I hope he takes note. It’s about, ‘Go pack your bags and get out.’

James Small-Edwards, the son of the group’s lead singer, was elected to the Bayswater Labor Council in west London in May.

After Ms Truss made her entrance, she tweeted: “A fitting choice! This tired and out of touch Tory government is indeed moving on.

Small has also previously shown his support for refugee charity Care 4 Calais’ #StopRwanda campaign.

Asked why he thought the song had been used, Pickering said: “No one told them ‘Tony Blair and New Labor used this song all the time’ or ‘Heather’s son is a Labor councilor’ or ‘Mike is really vocal on Twitter and on social media being anti-Tory’.

“I don’t know why they used it. They’re so useless at everything. Who knows?”

According to the press secretary, Ms Truss personally chose “Moving On Up” as her piece of music.

He said: “There were many options and he chose this one.”

The press secretary could not say whether the party had sought permission to do so, adding: “I don’t have detailed knowledge of how the licensing of this stuff works.”

Asked about Pickering’s criticism, the press secretary said: “I don’t know who he is.”

Boris Johnson used Friendly Fires’ ‘Blue Cassette’ as he walked out of a party conference last year.

The indie band later hit out at the then prime minister, saying “no permission was sought” to use their song and that they had asked their management to ensure the party did not use it again.