Dave Ward: ‘Peterborough shows how to win a Labour government’
June 7 2019
“A good win for Labour and now let’s get the focus back onto the domestic agenda,” said our general secretary Dave Ward this morning in response to the increased majority won in yesterday’s Peterborough by-election.
Not only did the party defy the odds to beat off the challenge of Nigel Farage’s rebranded electoral vehicle and hold this marginal seat, Labour also surpassed its 2017 performance and raised its majority.
With the potential impact on Labour of the controversial circumstances which sparked yesterday’s by-election and the challenge from Nigel Farage’s organisation – arriving in the area with its confidence boosted by victory in the EU elections – the odds were against the party.
On the day, bookmakers were quoting Nigel Farage party at 1/5 to win, with Labour’s Lisa Forbes as far out as 7/2 – but the bookies had failed to factor in the ‘ground war’.
Dave Ward explains that this was critical to our victory, which was achieved because of “the mass party that Jeremy Corbyn has created,” which meant that Labour had by far the largest number of volunteer activists on the ground on the day helping get out the vote.
And our own CWU members played their part in yesterday’s crucial battle, including Eastern Region secretary Paul Moffatt, who said that he was “immensely proud of the CWU and work our own activists have done in Peterborough.
“My heartfelt thanks to Andy Beeby Eastern No 5 Branch Secretary, Terry Henderson and other members of the Branch for all their hard work.
“This was an incredible win, not just for the Labour Party, but for Lisa Forbes MP and the people of the city – this victory shows what local people can deliver when motivated and the important part that trade union movement plays in politics,” Paul added.
Peterborough is traditionally a very tightly-contested Constituency. Labour gained it in 2017 from the Conservatives, who had held it since 2005 – after the seat had been ‘red’ in both the 2001 and 1997 elections.
Among political analysts, the city is often referred to as a ‘bellwether’, due to the fact that, in nine of the last 11 general elections going back to 1974, the party that won Peterborough also won nationally (2005 and 2017 being the exceptions.)
Dave Ward points out that, this excellent result also vindicates the Labour Party’s overall political strategy of focussing attention on domestic issues, the ‘bread and butter’ agenda of defending jobs, public services and workers’ rights.
And going forward, “getting the focus back onto the domestic agenda and the damage the Tories are doing to our country, and keeping it there is how we will deliver a Labour government,” he insists.