Responding to today’s announcement of a June 8th General Election the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “I welcome the Prime Minister’s decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first. Labour will be offering the country an effective alternative to a government that has failed to rebuild the economy, delivered falling living standards and damaging cuts to our schools and NHS.”
Across the country the Labour Party is ready for the fight and here in Somerset the 5 Constituency Labour Party’s, boosted by unprecedented increases in membership, are shifting rapidly from County election mode to all out General Election mode.
Bridgwater : Strong Labour Support
Bridgwater and West Somerset Labour Party, where the Labour vote is traditionally the strongest, has welcomed the prospect of a general election on June 8th. It says it will be fighting hard to increase Labour’s vote in response to the failures of the Tory government. Labour activists will be campaigning across the constituency, following on from the energetic campaign now going on for the Somerset County Council election.
In Labour controlled Bridgwater, leader of the Town Council Brian Smedley said “This election is clearly NOT about Europe and Brexit, it’s a Tory gamble to grab total power – but they have underestimated the opposition. In total contrast to what is being said in the Tory media, on the doorsteps actual people are saying they’ll be voting Labour. What they want is Jobs, Homes, the NHS and to get rid of Ian Liddle-Grainger. Labour is putting forward it’s strongest socialist message yet and people need to help us deliver that message now more than ever before. This time things can really change.”
West Somerset: Polls show increasing support
Labour’s West Somerset chair, Maureen Smith, added: “Polls show strong and increasing support for Labour policies. We have a genuine alternative to offer and we welcome the chance to put it forward in an election.”
In 2015, Labour’s Mick Lerry was in third place, behind the Conservative Ian Liddell-Grainger and the UKIP candidate. With UKIP in chaos – and many people regretting the Brexit vote – Labour is the only credible opposition to the Tories in this area. A Labour candidate will be selected urgently and the campaign can then begin. Mick said “Labour membership in Bridgwater and West Somerset is at its highest level for many years. We need all party members to play a part in exposing the failure of the Conservatives and getting the highest possible Labour vote.”
Taunton: Welcomes the Challenge
In the county town Jon Gray Chair of the Taunton Deane CLP speaking to the County Gazette said “Labour welcomes the opportunity of challenging Theresa May’s plans for post-Brexit Britain, with a low-wage, low-performing economy. We will relish the chance to put forward an alternative vision of investment in skills, a properly-funded NHS, well-resourced schools and fairer rewards for working people everywhere.”
Wells: Massive Surge in Membership
In the Wells CLP, where membership has increased ninefold from 150 to 935 since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader, Ant Butler Chair of Shepton Mallet branch and County Council Candidate for Shepton said “The Prime Minister cannot be trusted. Just about everything she has said since coming into office has been contradicted by her actions – including the calling of an early election. I will do everything within my power to ensure that this cynical move to exploit an apparently healthy poll lead (and we know how unreliable opinion polls can be!) is rewarded by a comprehensive defeat on June 8th.”
Yeovil: Labour Offering a ‘real alternative’
Gail Freeman-Bell, Secretary of Yeovil CP said “The announcement of a snap general election shows weak leadership by the Tory Prime Minister who yet again is battling the forces within her own Party. However, we see this as an opportunity to reach out to all the residents of our constituency: to those who voted Leave but did not vote for a hard Tory Brexit to make them poorer, to those who voted Remain and recognise that by working cooperatively with our EU partners we can reach a solution that works for all, and to all those who have suffered the massive unfairness of the austerity imposed by the Coalition and Tory governments. We will campaign to demonstrate the democratic deficit in the propositions of both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats, and to ensure that all residents know that we offer a real alternative and a path to a more equal society.”