Bridgwater Branch Labour Party

Bridgwater Campaign report: GENERAL ELECTION 2017

Thursday, 15 June 2017Leave a reply
Bridgwater Branch discusses its role in the General Election campaign 2017

Bridgwater Branch took part along with West Somerset Branch in the surprise General Election called on 19 April, mid way through the County election campaigns with the Tories showing a 20% lead in the polls. Theresa May aimed to boost her majority and was backed by most of the Media. This expectation then became the National narrative with Labour expected to lose heavily.  The result of the election on June 8th saw the Tories losing their majority and a hung parliament.

Local Government election campaign is reported here.

Nationally;-Labour won its greatest share of the popular vote since 2001 gaining 3.5m since 2015

Con 13,667,213 Lab 12,874,985. It was the first time Labour had won more seats than it lost since 1997.

Con 317 Lab 262 SNP 35 Lib 12 DUP 10 Sinn Fein 7 PC 4 Green 1 Ind Un 1 Speaker 1. +30 seats and a swing of 10% Continue reading “Bridgwater Campaign report: GENERAL ELECTION 2017”

The 2017 ‘Local Government Elections’ : Bridgwater Branch Report

Thursday, 15 June 2017Leave a reply
Bridgwater Branch discusses the Local Government election campaigns

The Bridgwater Branch Labour Party was involved in 2 election campaigns during 2017 and due to 2 by elections we were fighting seats on all 4 authorities -Town, District, County, National.

On 14 June 2017 Bridgwater Branch Labour Party had a massively attended meeting to discuss the  campaign along with that of the General Election (reported here).

Below are the background papers. The secretary will produce a report within the minutes at some point Continue reading “The 2017 ‘Local Government Elections’ : Bridgwater Branch Report”

Campaign review Somerton and Frome

Tuesday, 13 June 2017Leave a reply
Sean Dromgoole (Somerton & Frome)

Cracking campaign from first to last. It was my first and so my memories of it have traces of neon and sound like Hendrix.

We did lots of doorstep work in our key towns. Two sessions, every day for the last three weeks. Every time, everyplace we turned up there were extra people, new people learning the ropes and having a go. We communicated our full schedule to all the membership every week. Street stuff worked well in Frome and particularly well at the country fair in Bruton where we covered everyone in stickers and gave all the kids balloons.

I thoroughly enjoyed the hustings although the Conservative only made it to two of them which made it hard for the rest of us to get up to operating temperature. Education proved to be the Tory weak point locally and we exploited this fully. We also made Brexit into a Tory problem with no Tory solution.  This was handy in that we were able to use video of the exchanges, and hustings answers, through social media where they were able to reach thousands. We quite often heard back from the doorsteps that they’d been “watching those videos”. There was one, which phrased as a series of questions to the non-attending incumbent, that particularly engaged. Humour is handy on these occasions.

The freepost worked up to a point but a lot of friends in North Somerset seemed to get mine. Didn’t get much in legacy print but I’m not convinced that they are worth much these days. Did a lot in Facebook and boosted some of the best videos and posts – which felt like it was working.

I think the behaviour of the candidates towards each other was pretty good other than the Tory not showing up to the later hustings.  There was the usual socialist exhaustion with an LD platform built solely of balsawood with “tactical” written on it. This was doubly difficult in Frome where a non-aligned sub-group of poleznyjdiot took it upon themselves to anoint the LD as the “tactical” choice and set about leafleting using the Vote Smart imprimatur. This they continued even when it was clear we were making ground. We responded with an anti-tactical leaflet titled “Vote Smarter”. How effective this was I really don’t know but it allowed us to stay on the front foot and vented some of the emotions that were beginning to run a little high.

Our real secret weapon were people, disproportionately Liverpudlian, too many to name but Gerry of 86 years didn’t miss a day even when he got bitten by a dog. Hal who help with the social stuff and only has 16 years to his name – a candidate of the future. Mary who started leafleting with a leg still in plaster. Billy and Sapphire, Janice and Janice, Gordon, Les, Pat and Steve, Steve, Michael, Peter it just goes on and on. In Frome our secret weapon was the redoubtable Theresa with her maps and targets that always a little bit extra on them “in case you manage to do really well” – which then each group really wanted to do. Finally I must thank our CLP secretary whose communication was excellent and my Agent and Chairman David Oakensen without whom nothing.

On the night we improved from 4,419 to 10,998 and at 7.2% share to 17.3%. That is the largest Labour vote and the largest share the constituency has ever seen. However we think it’s just the beginning. We benefited from splashing a lot of Jeremy Corbyn on our materials and a manifesto that has Labour written right through it. If we can build on these and spend a little more time explaining outside the major population centres we can do a lot better. This will involve a long campaign strategy which we feel starts now.

I would also like to congratulate Andy Merryfield in Wells on his 5.1% swing which is all the more remarkable when you consider it was achieved in the teeth of Liberal activism.

Sean Dromgoole

Post (or maybe pre?) Election plans

Sunday, 11 June 20171 Reply

Labour members and supporters will be delighted to know that we not only confounded the critics of Corbyn who said we were heading for the worst defeat in labour history but instead we achieved the best result Nationally since 1945 and in Bridgwater since 1979. So what next??

BRIDGWATER BRANCH MEETING- the cornerstone of local Labour Party organisation is the BRANCH. The first Branch meeting will be held at 7.30 on Wednesday 14th June  at Unity House.

Branch secretary Gary Tucker says “What a strange election result across the country!  Still, it is time to resume our Branch Meetings.  ”

Gaye and Hadrian will be kindly running this.  Please help them by bringing donations of cakes etc.  They will be served up from 7pm onwards.
Ideas board
We have such great ideas from members and supporters and we don’t want to lose them.  I will install an ideas board in the room for you to write anything on regarding how we do our meetings and in the campaign review should you not feel your idea gets sufficient airing, please put it on there too!
Campaign Review
We would like to have an active meeting and so have decided as an executive to run this activity so that members and supporters can help us to move forwards in future campaigns.  The activity will be based on campaigners’ own experiences in the two campaigns and we will use this to inform/ plan future campaigns.  Your feedback is vital.  We will have a hand out of facts and figures for you to look at during the meeting if you feel you need more information as well.
Any other business
Please email this to me before the meeting as the time is limited otherwise items outside of this may be raised at the chair’s discretion.
We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.  We hope you will find it a more engaging experience.In solidarity Gary Tucker Bridgwater Branch Secretary

CONSTITUENCY AGM;– The Bridgwater and West Somerset Parliamentary Constituency stretches right across the West Somerset Coast and combines all the Branches from Bridgwater to Minehead. The long postponed Annual General Meeting will be held at 7.30 on Monday 19th June at Unity House.

At this meeting the elections to the key offices of the Local  Party is agreed and the powerful Executive committee along with any conference nominations.

Annual General Meeting of the General Management Committee  AGENDA

  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Approval of previous AGM minutes
  3. Matters arising
  4. Reports on past year’s activities
    • Chair’s report
    • Bridgwater Branch
    • West Somerset Branch
    • Secretary’s report
    • Treasurer’s report
    • Premises Committee
    • County Campaign Forum
    • General Election Campaign
    • Other reports (if any)
  5. Elections
    • Chair
    • Vice Chair (2)
    • Secretary
    • Assistant Secretary
    • Treasurer
    • Auditors
    • Membership Secretary
    • Youth & Student Officer
    • Women’s Officer
    • Trade Union Liaison Officer
    • Press Officer
    • Executive Committee
    • Delegates to County Party (3 plus sitting County Councillors)
    • Premises Committee
    • Quorum (currently 10)
  6. Delegate to Conference
  7. Nomination for National Constitutional Committee
  8. Nomination for Conference Arrangements Committee
  9. Dates of 2017/18 meetings

LABOUR SOCIAL:- Moves are underfoot to organise a Labour Party PARTY at the Spice Club restaurant in Eastover. The date is Tuesday 20th June and there is a Facebook site to link to or you can write directly to if you are going (nb  before Friday 16th June)

Campaign review WELLS

Saturday, 10 June 2017Leave a reply
Andy Merryfield, Labour candidate in Wells

We concentrated our activity on the street with a healthy presence at busy times in high streets & markets in addition to some leaflet delivery and door knocking. Hustings in Burnham on Sea, Wedmore & Wells were open to the public and in BoS and Wells made available on You Tube which moved it beyond the mainly partisan audience.

Continue reading “Campaign review WELLS”

Election Day Organisation

Thursday, 8 June 20171 Reply

Today is the day. What’s left to do?

  1. Get out and vote
  2. Get everyone you know out to vote
  3. Give us a ring and see where you can come to help us
  4. Wes’s actionline is 07487 300 802
  5. Drop in on a Polling station with a red rosette on and help us provide a last line of persuasion for voters. See the list below and you can see the polling stations where no-one has offered to cover…and let’s be honest, if Tories or Libdems turn up there and we aren’t there, they’ll say to the voters ‘Labour have given up here’
Polling stations 7am-10pm 7-12 12-5 5-10
Westover Town Hall 7-12 Brian  Smedley 12-4 paul kelly

4-6 pat morley

6-10 Brian Smedley
  Westfield church 7-12???? 12-2 pat w 2-7 kath

7-9 pat morley

  Trinity Hall 7-12 Pat Morley 12-5.30 karen 5.30-10 John & Irena
Eastover All Saints terrace 10-2 chelsea 2-7???? 7-10 Tony
  Railway club 8-12 Tony 12-4 Glen 4-10 Dave Loveridge
Hamp Hamp Trinity church 7-8 Jane Grenfell


2-6 Liam 6-10 sarah shaw
Victoria Victoria park CC 7-10 Julie C

10-12 anne


12-2 ?????

2-4 anne


7-9 Siobhan
Fairfax Sydenham CC 7-1030????

1030-12.30 Judith

 1230-5????  5-9?????
Dunwear St Johns & st Francis Diogo 8-11

Molly  11-1


Molly 3-5

Wyndham St Marys school 7-9???

9-12 liz


2-4 Elaine

  St Josephs school 7-2????? 2-5 liz 7-10 mr & mrs Hinckes
  Westover green school 7-12???? 12-6???? 6-9 liz
Catcott   Hadrian & Gaye    
North Petherton Somerset bridge school Ian Mac 8-12 12-5???? 5-9 Ian Mac
  NPCC Lynda & Marion Lynda & Marion Lynda & Marion
Unity house   9-12????? 12-5 Brian 5-10????
candidate Wes (roaming)    

Final Week of Campaigning

Monday, 5 June 20171 Reply
Incredible scenes at Gateshead for Jeremy Corbyn

The most amazing shift in voting intentions since the second world war has happened during this election. We’re down to 1% behind in some polls and judging by the incredible scenes in Gateshead tonight to hear Jeremy Corbyn we might just pull this one off….and…end up with the same kind of socialism that people were inspired by in 1945…..We just have to get people out to vote.

With this in mind there’s a couple of days left and here’s how you can help.


There are a couple more sessions to distribute the Bridgwater and West Somerset Rose.

Tues 6th 2.30-3.30 Catcott school Catcott Hadrian
6-8pm Leafletting in Sydenham Parkway shops  Gary
Wed 7th 9-5pm #onlylabour campaigning Katherine
11-1pm Labour stall in Fore street Hadrian
6-8pm Woolavington Co-op Woolavington Gary

Polling Stations

Then there’s people needed to help on election day – have a look at the list below and see if you can spare some time to fill in some of the gaps.

Polling stations 7am-10pm 7-12 12-5 5-10
Westover Town Hall 7-12 Brian  Smedley 12-4 paul kelly 5-10Brian Smedley
Westfield church 12-2 pat w  2-7 kath
Trinity Hall 7-12Pat Morley 12-5 karen 5-10Pat Morley
Eastover All Saints terrace 10-2 Chelsea 7-10 Tony
Railway club 8-12 Tony 12-4 Glen 4-10 Dave L
Hamp Hamp infants
Victoria Victoria park CC 7-10 Julie C

10-12 anne

2-4 anne
Fairfax Sydenham CC
Bower Infants school
Dunwear St Johns & st Francis Diogo 8-11

Molly  11-1

Molly 3-5
Wyndham St Marys school 9-12 Liz
St Josephs school 2-5 Liz
Westover green school 6-9 Liz
Woolavington Woolavington CC
North Petherton Somerset bridge school Ian Mac 8-12 Ian Mac
NPCC Lynda & Marion Lynda & Marion Lynda & Marion
Unity house 12-5 Brian

Tolpuddle Festival 2017

Sunday, 28 May 2017Leave a reply

Would you like a lift to the 2017 Tolpuddle Festival for the final day?

Bridgwater Trades Council are running a Minibus on Sunday 16th July

Everyone is welcome

Bus leaves Bridgwater 9am and returns from Tolpuddle 6pm

Can pick up at any reasonable location  on route.

Price £10/ or £5 unwaged

Contact Brian Smedley

Sunday programme is here

 The Tolpuddle Martyrs made their stand at a crucial moment in the history of the Labour Movement which saw the founding of Trades Unions. Today this annual festival of socialism is not just a weekend of  revitalisation for workers and activists everywhere, it’s also a fun weekend out in a pleasant Dorset country setting. The Sunday is the culmination of the festivities, features a procession , stalls, cafes and political discussions everywhere.

Read the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs  here

Campaigning Resumes for General Election

Thursday, 25 May 20171 Reply
Wes Hinckes back on the campaign trail

After a short gap in campaigning due to the tragic events in Manchester, we have now been given the go ahead to start campaigning again. At last nights campaign meeting we outlined a programme of events and activities which members can get involved in. Check down below for how you can help.


Wes’s election address has hit the letterboxes today, but our main  leaflet will be the next edition of the Bridgwater and West Somerset Rose . An A3 sized newspaper for the whole district. Our priority will be getting it out. If you can help please look at the timings below or keep instantly up to date by logging onto and joining the Facebook group ‘Bridgwater and West Somerset Campaigners’

A series of leaders for each area was agreed, these people would be responsible for taking the newspapers to the meeting place and identifying which streets to do and then reporting that back to Unity House.


Day Time Subject Meeting place Co-ordinator
Fri 26th 1200-1800  Rose available for collection Unity house Gary
Sat 27th 11am-1pm Labour Stall at the Cornhil Cornhill,Bridgwater 11am Hadrian
  2pm-4pm Leafletting in WEST STREET West street shops 2pm Kath
Mon 29th TBC Porlock Leafleting   Katherine
  6-8pm Leafleting Rhode Lane Bridgwater Rhode Lane shops 6pm Wes
Tues 30th  1030 leafletting of Eastover Triangle La Kage, Eastover 1030 Dave
  6pm-8pm Leafletting of Taunton road Taunton rd shops 6pm Liz
Wed 31st 2pm-4pm Leafletting of Westover Splash car park 2pm Brian
  6pm-8pm Leafletting Duck Estate Mallard close 6pm Dave
Thurs 1st 6pm-8pm Leafletting Bristol road Sainsburys 6pm Brian
Fri 2nd 10am-12 Labour stall in Minehead   Hadrian
  6-8pm Leafleting in Wellington rd , Railway station 6pm Dave
Sat 3rd 11-1pm Labour Stall at Cornhill Bridgwater Cornhill Bridgwater 11am Hadrian
  2-4pm Leafletting on Parkway Parkway shops 2pm Brian
Sun 4th 2-4pm Leafleting in Woolavington Woolavington co-op 2pm Wes
Mon 5th 9-5pm Porlock Monday TBC   Katherine
  6-7pm Leafleting in Westonzoyland Rd Co-op westonzoyland rd Wes
Tues 6th 6-8pm Leafletting in Bower manor Tesco express 6pm Wes
Wed 7th 9-5pm #onlylabour campaigning   Katherine
Thurs 8th   Polling day organisation   Brian


The following people have agreed to take a limited number of ROSES and arrange distribution in the following areas. Maybe you could also offer to take some for your area?? Contact us or drop in to Unity House during the opening hours (scrawl down)

Laura Costello Kendale road
Jane Grenfell Stockmoor
Barry Leathwood Cannington & Combwich
Kath Pearce Co-op estate-selected streets
Molly Warren Docks and Chilton street
Brian Smedley Town Centre



Tony Heywood was in charge of getting out posters and poster boards.


Brian Smedley would co-ordinate the staffing at Unity House during the campaign

Day Time staff staff
Fri 26th 0900-1800  Gary, Brian
Sat 27th 11am-1pm Labour Stall at the Cornhil Hadrian
  11am-2pm Pat  
Sun 28th   Bank holiday  
Mon 29th      
Tues 30th 10am-1pm Hadrian Gaye
  2-5pm Tony  
Wed 31st 11-1 Dave  
Thurs 1st 10-2 Brian  
  2-4pm Liz  
Fri 2nd 10-1 Tony  
  1-5 Jane  
Sat 3rd 9-11am Laura  
  11-1pm Labour Stall at Cornhill Hadrian
  11-2pm Pat  
Sun 4th      
Mon 5th 9am-1pm Leigh  
  1-5pm Glen  
Tues 6th 9am-1pm Leigh  
  1pm-5pm Brian  
Wed 7th 10am-1pm Dave  
  1pm-5pm  Glen  
Thurs 8th   Polling day organisation  

We are arranging wifi   Duties will be maintaining a Labour presence in town centre building and advising people on how they can help with leafletting rotas, door knocking,events etc


Brian Smedley will be in charge of co-ordinating polling day activities. This will largely mean volunteers to cover the polling stations. Local Labour councillors will be asked in the first instance to arrange cover for their regular stations , Brian will then fill in the gaps

Polling stations 7am-10pm      
Westover Town Hall Westfield church Trinity Hall  
Eastover All Saints terrace Railway club    
Hamp Hamp infants      
Victoria Victoria park CC      
Fairfax Sydenham CC      
Bower Infants school      
Dunwear St Johns & st Francis      
Wyndham St Marys school St Josephs school Westover green school  
Woolavington Woolavington CC      
North Petherton Somerset bridge school NPCC    


There are a series of events during the election which members are welcome to help with or participate in, these include the leafletting etc above, but also specific events to promote Wes Hinckes and suggested socials

Day Time Subject
Fri 26th 9-11:30pm Somerset Wildlife Trust YMCA (The Canal + Meads Eco-Park)
  12-2pm Bridgwater College Fiona Kolley
  2-3:30pm Bridgwater Food Bank Bridgwater
  6-7:30pm Door knocking on Taunton road Bridgwater
Sat 27th 1-1pm Labour Stall at the Cornhil Bridgwater
Mon 29th TBC Porlock Leafleting
Tues 30th 10:30-1pm Federation of Small Businesses Holiday Inn, Taunton
  7-10pm NFU Hustings  Wheddon Cross
Wed 31st 9-12pm Williton Wednesday TBC
  10-11am Northfield House (Residential Home) Tower Hill TA4 4JR
  11-12pm Williton Library or Social Club TBC
  1-2pm SHAL Housing and Summerfield Housing Development Watchet
  1-5pm Watchet Wednesday TBC
  7-10pm Bridgwater Talking News (Charity Commitment)
Thurs 1st 3-5pm EDF Education Programmes Bridgwater, Mallard Way
  7-9pm YMCA Hustings tickets on a first come first served basis!
Fri 2nd 10am-12 Labour Stall in Minehead
Sat 3rd 10-6pm Just Living Conference (Personal as Attendee) Taunton
  8-10pm Spice Club with Labour Team (Contact Laura
  11-1pm Labour Stall at Cornhill Bridgwater
Mon 5th 9-5pm Porlock Monday TBC
Tues 6th 6-8pm World Cafe @ The Engine Room  ,Bridgwater
Wed 7th 9-5pm #onlylabour campaigning
Thurs 8th 7am-10pm Polling day organisation

For general queries or to be directed to the right contact email


Meet the Labour Candidate for the General Election

Saturday, 6 May 20171 Reply
Wes Hinckes

With the Local elections over and our Local Labour candidates now safely re-elected we need to focus on the General Election set for June 8th. This time round the candidate hasn’t been chosen by the local membership but instead by a panel of 3 set up by the National Exec and South West Regional office.

The candidate for Bridgwater and West Somerset will be WESLEY JOHN HINCKES, a Bridgwater based Sedgemoor District Councillor.

Bridgwater Branch secretary Gary Tucker says “Bridgwater Branch has   arranged a Campaign meeting for when the Branch Meeting was due to take place (before meetings were suspended).  It is this Wednesday 10th May at 7.30pm in Unity House, Dampiet Street, Bridgwater.  

Continue reading “Meet the Labour Candidate for the General Election”