Bridgwater Branch Labour Party

Bridgwater Selection Meetings Saturday 27th October

Tuesday, 23 October 2018Leave a reply
The campaign starts here

If you are a Labour Party Member and live in the six key Bridgwater Town wards of Hamp, Eastover,Westover, Fairfax, Dunwear or Victoria , then you are welcome to attend the Victoria Park Community Centre  this Saturday (27th October) to help interview and then vote for the Labour candidates that you would like to represent your area on Sedgemoor District Council in the 2019 elections.

The event will run from 9am and will finish by 1pm.

You will need to bring your Labour Party membership card.

Members from each ward, in the following order, will be able to have their say

0930 Hamp

1000 Eastover

1030 Westover

1100 Fairfax

1130 Dunwear

1200 Victoria

Labour on the march as hundreds of new members took part in the campaign

Labour councillors are currently in place for each of the seats (Hamp 2, Eastover 2, Westover 2, Fairfax 2, Dunwear 1, Victoria 1)  and therefore they are considered ‘winnable’ (in Party jargon). Some sitting councillors are asking to be-selected, some are standing down and some totally new candidates are putting their names forward.

This year there is the added incentive of getting more women candidates as we are running the first seat in each ward as a ‘women only shortlist’

If there are less than 6 Labour members from each ward present then the CLP Executive (Bridgwater area) will be asked to join the ones who are there to make the decision.

The  Exec (who will need to be there from 9am) are as follows

*Chair            Gary Tucker (BW)

*Secretary            Brian Smedley (BW)

*Vice Chair/Membership    Mick Lerry (BW)

*Treasurer            Tony Heywood (BW)

*Youth Officer        Gemma Shanahan (BW)

*Trade Union Liaison   Glen Burrows (BW)

Additional Executive Members;-

*Leigh Redman (BW)

*Karen Heyward (BW)

Bridgwater Branch Chair Gary Tucker says “The reason I re-joined the party was for Jeremy Corbyn’s vision to democratise the party and lead from the grassroots. This Saturday’s selections for Council candidates gives us an opportunity to put his vision into action. Here’s three reasons why should come to choose you candidates for the area you live in:

  1. Having a choice of who stands is healthy for democracy. We have sitting councillors in amongst the shortlist but we also have fresh faces. Surely, it is a good thing to have a choice of candidates- experience or new ideas or what about both??
  2. When it is raining and you are doing the hard work of delivering leaflets, you want a leader who inspires you to action in your ward! Having someone you chose who you want will make those miserable days a bit more bearable.
  3. You are part of the campaign from Day 1. Knowing who you chose, who you feel inspired by means you have someone to represent you but also someone who you can get to know better and feed into the process of campaigning and get your ideas into the campaign materials. Each Councillor candidate gets to form exactly WHAT we are campaigning on. Rather than have a campaign foisted on you, why not be part of it? A good starting point is choosing your candidate.

I hope these reasons have made you reconsider your plans for Saturday.You will be given full guidance. Come along and get involved! Are you coming? “

Labour Party Conference Report 2018

Sunday, 21 October 2018Leave a reply
gemma and JC
Gemma and JC – Bridgwater makes it’s mark

Bridgwater and West Somerset Labour Delegates Gemma Shanahan and Chelsea Chadwick attended Conference and have submitted this report.

Day 1- Women’s conference:

-Speakers-Jennie Formby

-Dawn Butler

-Jeremy Corbyn

-Motions-Women and the Economy-zero hour contracts, earning below the living wage, two child limit, universal credit

-Childcare-Cuts has caused closure of childcare services, having a child shouldn’t limit women’s economic power

-Abortion rights-Northern Ireland, wanted to make amendments to the Domestic Abuse bill, repealing ss. 58 and 59 of the offences against the people act 1861.

-Women’s health and safety- Period poverty (CWU’s big campaign). Special consideration for menopausal symptoms at work.

-Unfortunately we didn’t have a women delegate so we couldn’t vote but all motions were passed unanimously.

-The atmosphere was electric, it was just so incredible to see so many strong women in one room and so many sharing inspirational stories, everyone was so supportive of each other, and it was made so accessible for everyone with accessibility stewards and people signing the whole conference. Continue reading “Labour Party Conference Report 2018”

Calling Labour Women to step forward as Candidates

Wednesday, 10 October 2018Leave a reply

WOMENThis is an urgent call to women members in the Bridgwater area to please consider putting your name forward for selection for District Council next May (2019). It is important that we have women candidates because Party Rules say that in winnable seats the 1st seat must be chosen from an all women shortlist and, in truth, we don’t have a list of women enough to fill the seats.

There are 6 wards in Bridgwater described as ‘winnable’. In this order – Hamp, Eastover, Westover, Fairfax, Dunwear, Victoria. In all of these we have sitting councillors – but in fact only 1 of these sitting councillors who is wanting to stand again is female. In order to encourage more women, party rules say we have to guarantee the 1st seat in each ward to a woman….that’s 6 seats. So far we don’t even have 6 women on our shortlist.

However…there is still time….but not much…..Please read the process below and seriously and quickly consider if you (as a woman) would like to stand for District Council and in a winnable seat. Return this form or contact us by October 13th 0930am

To qualify you need to

  1. Be a Labour party member

         2. Live in the Sedgemoor area.

The procedure is slightly complex but I lay it out here

Electoral ward 1st selection 2nd selection  
Hamp H1 H2  
Eastover E1 E2  
Westover W1 W2  
Fairfax F1 F2 F3
Dunwear D1 D2  
Victoria V1 V2  


Selection process for district council candidates as agreed with Regional Office

This applies to WINNABLE seats identified as the 6 Labour wards in Bridgwater.

These are identified in priority order above

1 seat in each winnable seat MUST be contested by a woman

The 2nd (or 3rd) seat must be selected from ‘open’ selection (ie man or woman)

The LCF draws up a ‘panel of candidates for winnable seats’ (this is all people who have submitted an application form and specified any of the above seats)

The LCF agrees candidates from the list – these must include sitting ward councillors

Anyone with a query (lack of consistent membership, new candidate etc) must face an interview of an LCF panel

The LCF panel must submit their recommendations to regional office for approval

The ‘Panel of candidates for winnable seats’ are offered to a membership meeting (27th October) in ward order H,E,W,F,D,V

If a ward membership is less than 6 then the executive members are added to the selection team

  1. H1 has to be chosen from women who have specified Hamp
  2. If no women candidate wishes to contest this then we have to ‘re-advertise’ and set another date in order to try to get women to come forward.
  3. H2 is then selected from an open list of members who have been accepted onto the panel of candidates and have specified Hamp.
  4. The process is then repeated in the following order

-E1 (women only)

-E2 (open)

-W1 (women only)

-W2 (open)

-F1 (women only)

-F2 & F3 (open)

-D1 (women only)

-D2 (open)

-V1 (women only)

-V2 (open)

  1. All blank seats (unselected) must stand in abeyance until Regional Office either approves open selection or insists that we re-publicise the positive selection amongst women members in the hope to get more women candidates.

Clearly, to avoid delaying our process women members must now please come forward. Send the following form back to by Saturday 13th October.

Any questions please contact the Secretary Brian Smedley 07772402671 or by email as above

———————- cut and past the form below into an email and send it back to us———————-

I wish my name to go forward for consideration by the Local Campaign Forum for the panel of candidates for the 2019 Local Elections in Sedgemoor.

Which Authority do you wish to be considered for? (please ANSWER YES to  one or more below)


TOWN COUNCIL (Please specify)

PARISH COUNCIL (Please specify)




Ward in which you live  

Council experience
Labour Party Membership Number

Length of time as a Labour Party Member

Trades Union Membership
Any other relevant information



Please state your preferred WARD
Please list other Wards you wish to be considered for (‘any’ is also an acceptable answer)


“If elected I undertake to abide by the rules of the Labour Party and the standing orders of the District Labour Group “  Signed____________________________________                            

Labour Party Blues, Soul, Ska,Reggae, Motown Dance Night

Friday, 14 September 2018Leave a reply
Join our Party for a Party at Partysville Partyland


Friday 28th September 2018

Red Shadow Vinyl Sound System
£3 on the door

Organised by Bridgwater Branch Labour Party

Everyone is welcome to this event which will be a fundraiser for the Bridgwater Labour Party

Labour Party FAMILY FRIENDLY Barbecue Saturday 1st September

Wednesday, 29 August 2018Leave a reply

Everyone is welcome to join us at the Bridgwater home of Cllr Liz Leavy for an end of summer Labour Party fundraising ‘family friendly’ barbecue. Saturday 1st September.

6.p.m onwards till midnight. Tickets £5 each, children of school age and under go FREE.

Please bring a bottle   FOOD WILL BE PROVIDED, Carnivore, Vegan and Vegetarian friendly.

The event will be held at 101 Taunton Road, Bridgwater.

If good weather we will be in the garden, if not the event will be indoors.

You are welcome to just turn up but to get some idea of numbers please inform Maggy Layton via E mail.; by telephone 01278 652423; or by post 68 Estuary Park Combwich TA5 2RF.

Come along and support us and bring your friends and family.

Labour Launches Local Election Campaign for May 2019

Saturday, 18 August 2018Leave a reply
labour 3
The Red Flag  hoisted aloft in Bridgwater for the coming fight’

On May 2nd 2019 there will be local elections across the country at Town and District Council level. This includes all 5 Somerset Districts , plus all the Towns and Parishes.  Labour’s strongest local government representation in Somerset is in Sedgemoor where the Party is the main opposition with 10 Councillors and on Bridgwater Town Council which is Labour controlled by 14 seats to 2.

Bridgwater Town Council Labour Leader, Brian Smedley, was today elected as the Secretary of the newly established Local Campaign Forum which will select Labour candidates for the Sedgemoor wards, develop a Manifesto and co-ordinate the entire campaign in conjunction with the Branches of Bridgwater and North West Somerset. He put out a call for Labour candidates to now come forward. Continue reading “Labour Launches Local Election Campaign for May 2019”

Social Media, Comradely Behaviour and Complaints Procedure

Wednesday, 28 March 20182 Replies
“Calm down, calm ,down calm down”

It’s a funny old world when comrades fighting together for the same ends should end up squabbling in public and especially on this awful ‘social media’ that they have these days. This week it’s been quite bad all things considered. So the  Combined CLP & Bridgwater Branch Execs met today and drew up a Code of Conduct and a Complaints Procedure.

For the Labour Party Policy on Social Media click here.

Now if that’s not clear enough – ie PLEASE treat each other with respect and debate in a comradely fashion we have clarified the role of the 3 Facebook Sites we administer. Please understand and observe this. Continue reading “Social Media, Comradely Behaviour and Complaints Procedure”

Labour Friends of Bangladesh Launches Branch in Somerset

Sunday, 25 March 2018Leave a reply
Gary Tucker and Abdullah Faruk talk politics at the Labour Friends of Bangladesh launch

Bangladesh is the 8th most populous country in the world, predominantly Muslim, and historically part of the British Empire from 1757-1947 when it became  part of Pakistan and from who it gained independence after a bloody struggle in 1971.  There are some 450,000 Bengalis in the UK today (0.7% of the population)  and 95% of them are Labour voters. So it was with this background that a ‘Labour Friends of Bangladesh’ was formed from among the 300  strong Bangladeshi community in Somerset, with a launch meeting at the Spice Club Restaurant in Bridgwater.

40 people attended the event, drawn 50-50 from the local Bengali community and the  Bridgwater and Taunton Labour Parties and were welcomed to the popular Eastover restaurant by President Karim Mia who introduced his committee.

Labour Leader of Bridgwater Town Council, Cllr Brian Smedley, introduced the Labour members saying “Bridgwater is a Labour town with 14 out of 16 Labour councillors and we are also the main opposition on Sedgemoor District Council. Internationalism is at the core of Labour values and ‘Friends groups’ such as this are crucial to developing that ethos and bringing it to the heart of our communities”. He explained that most of the work of Labour parties is done at branch level and introduced several key activists. Continue reading “Labour Friends of Bangladesh Launches Branch in Somerset”

Bridgwater and West Somerset Branch AGMs

Friday, 16 March 20182 Replies
branch officers
Branch officers for 2018

Both Bridgwater and West Somerset Branches of the Labour Party have now held their Annual General Meetings and there’s a lot of new faces at the top table, reflecting the upsurge in membership and activism across the constituency. The AGM of the Constituency will be held in Bridgwater on Wednesday 16th May when delegates will elect CLP officers and the Conference delegate.

In Bridgwater the Branch officers are;-

Chair: Glen Burrows
Secretary: Gary Tucker
Membership  Sec: Mick Lerry  
Treasurer: Margaret Layton
Vice Chair: Julie Cordiner + Linda Hyde
Press & Publicity: Brian Smedley
TU Liaison: Glenn Cane
Auditors: J Taylor & A Glassford
GMC Exec Ctte : Karen Heywood & Leigh Redman
All of the above are delegates to the GMC as well as: K Pearce, T Roth, M Duggan,  L Gibson,A Borman,L Leavy,A Moore,L Tucker,T Heywood, S Trent, I Hubble,J Hubble,J Taylor
Town Labour Group Observers:- Liam Tucker, Mick Duggan
District Labour Group Observers:-Sadie Trent, Karen Haywood

In West Somerset the line up is;-

Chair: Maureen Smith
Secretary: Kathrine See
Vice chair Membership: Andy Mountford  
Treasurer: Paul Meagher
Vice Chair: Pete Murphy
Equalities Officer: Paul Booker
Women’s Officer: Lucy Naylor
Fund raising Lead: John Thwaites
Minutes Secretary: Bridget O’Brien
All of the above are delegates to the GMC as well as: Jill Walmsley, Andy Lewis, John Bryant, Susan Calvo and Phil Rattray and Tim Woods
Nominations to GMC Bridgwater West Somerset
Chair Gary Tucker
Sec Brian Smedley
Treasurer Tony Heywood
Vice Chair membership Mick Lerry
Vice Chair x
Press Brian Smedley
Women’s Chelsea Chadwick
Equalities Diogo Rodrigues
Youth Gemma Shanahan
TULO Glen Burrows
Exec 1 Karen Haywood X
Exec 2 Leigh Redman X
Conference Chelsea Chadwick

Labour Spring

Saturday, 3 March 2018Leave a reply
Meltdown approaches

As the thaw sets in and Spring bursts forth so do we. There’s lots of things for Labour members to get their teeth into this March and April and here’s some of them.

Councillor Training

On Monday 5th March any aspiring Town (or District) councillors are welcome to join the Bridgwater Town Council Labour Group for our pre-council meeting and observe the roles, discussions and policy making that is part and parcel of being a Labour Town Councillor. The meeting will start at 7.30 but observers are invited to attend at 7pm to have a broad overview of and introduction to  the role. The meeting will be held at the John Turner Room, above the Town Hall Office. Interested parties are then invited to observe the Town Council meeting at the Town Hall (Charter Hall) on Thursday 8th March 7.30pm.

Labour controls Bridgwater Town Council 14.1.1 and we will be seeking to field a full slate of 16 candidates in 2019. There will be a similar opportunity to take part in a  District Labour Group event.

Let us know here or for more information watch the video. Continue reading “Labour Spring”