A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Labour candidate in every by-election

The fly in the ointment in the otherwise good council by-election results is that we did not field a candidate in the by-election in Kensington. I understand this was a local decision by the CLP with some members wanting to stand someone and the majority feeling it was such a safe Tory ward and so soon after the May elections that it wasn't worth it.

I don’t think it’s acceptable for them to have done this, particularly when the voters have had to choose between two parties now in national Coalition together. The Coalition gives us a clear way back in in places that have been Con vs LD fights, but to capitalise on that we have to be on the ballot paper.

I will be using my position on the London Regional Board, and if elected to the NEC my position there, to push for Labour's HQ and regions to make it an absolute priority to field candidates in every single council by-election going forward - and in every ward that we possibly can in the main council elections each May. This will require considerable organisational support and a good deal of friendly persuasion for weaker CLPs but it is vital to getting us back into power that we show we are a national party with no "no-go" areas for our candidates.


Anonymous tim f said...

Well said. It's regrettable and unfortunate if they couldn't find a candidate to stand, but to make an active decision not to stand someone is wrong. People should always have the opportunity to vote Labour (I speak as someone who is still uncomfortable at the decision to allow Martin Bell a free shot!)

1:59 pm, July 23, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the process can you magic up candidates to stand? So naive sometimes Luke.

3:49 pm, July 23, 2010

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

As Kensington fielded a full slate of 54 candidates in May, this was not about absence of people.

Even the smallest CLPs in the country have enough members to field council candidates in every ward in every election.

If CLPs won't sort this themselves then the nearest full-timer will need to jump in a car and go and get someone to sign the nomination papers and be paper candidate and go door-to-door until they get 12 people to nominate them.

This is already done by all parties in many areas.

My first contact with the Labour Party was when my mum was asked to be a candidate in this way in rural Kent in 1982.

4:03 pm, July 23, 2010

Anonymous Julian Ware-Lane said...

I have long tried to get my CLP (Southend West) to field candidates in the Leigh Town Council elections. The excuses have been that these are fought and won by 'independents'. I think 'independent' is a dishonest label, but that aside, in a recent by-election the BNP stood. I think it matters not what our chances are - this should only impact the amount of work put in. Every election, regardless of level, must be fought.

If I get onto the NEC I too will be pushing for this.

4:29 pm, July 23, 2010

Anonymous Julian Ware-Lane said...

I should add that since by-elections stand on their own there is no reason at all why a candidate cannot be found.

Surely it is not just about winning ....

4:31 pm, July 23, 2010

Blogger Merseymike said...

Yes, yes, and yes again.

I was born in a solid Tory area where the Libs often won the local council seats. There was a lot of pressure on us to stand down, but we always put up candidates because what we didn't want to do was to see people getting out of the habit of voting Labour and so the Libs taking our place

And its happened : at one time we had safe Labour seats in Maidenhead (Oldfield), Chesham (Waterside, Pond Park, St. Mary's), Aylesbury (Southcourt), and Windsor (Clewer South). We are nowhere in sight now and I think this is what happens when you abandon the fight

4:32 pm, July 23, 2010

Blogger Michael Walker said...

well done to Tony Bavington in Suffolk

Rural revolt is on the way

Good to see him win on the day the Tories/Lib Denms scrapped the Agricultural wages Board (establsihed in 1948)

Good to see Country Standard at tolpuddle

Forward to a Labour or progressive candidate in all rural seats

dont let UKIP/BNP fill the ani Coalition hole


9:38 pm, July 23, 2010

Blogger David Boothroyd said...

I happen to know that there was a plan to run a paper candidate in Holland ward, and someone was actually ready to run. It ought to be a rule that there is a Labour candidate in all byelections.

12:03 am, July 24, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke, I left the earlier comment about you being naive - I regret that for being a bit harsh. I agree with the sentiment but it isn't practical where we don't have enough members willing to stand - we can't draft it external candidates to district or county elections or select last minute non-members as both are not allowed. Outside the London bubble full time staff are few and far between - our regional office is over 60 miles away and do you think they'll bother with us in the sticks over winnables? No. You need to get out more if you think no CLP is short of candidates, in this county and those neighbouring we are very, very short. Membership in our CLP would require nearly 70 per cent of members to stand in elections to fill our district commitment alone. I wish it was better on the ground in bestest Tory areas, but it's not.

12:34 pm, July 24, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

p.s. also you only need 10 signatures to nominate a candidate.

12:37 pm, July 24, 2010


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