Thank you to all of those who voted Labour on Thursday 8th June. When Theresa May called this unnecessary and costly election it looked like Labour could be facing defeat in Exeter and across Britain.
The arrogant Tories campaign nationally was a disaster and Labour’s ran smoothly and boosted by a popular manifesto.
In Exeter we secured the highest percentage of the vote of any party in Exeter since 1923. Whilst nationally turnout was 68.7% in Exeter it was once higher at 71.7%. Over 34,000 people voted for us, more votes than we have ever achieved before and an incredible 62% of the vote.
The growing success of the Labour Party in Exeter continues, two years ago securing 30/39 seats on Exeter City Council, our largest majority ever and in May of this year securing 7 seats on Devon County Council under challenging boundaries.
Across Exeter we easily had over 350 volunteers helping just on Election Day itself. Since the campaign began there were far more than this, with people going out in the area of the city they live, coming to the office, traveling in from other areas of Devon and even coming from Taunton, Bristol, Surrey, London and Glasgow. It was everyone's efforts which made this huge triumph possible – I am sorry I will not be able to thank you all personally but know that whatever you did helped and is appreciated.
Without people doing all they could - be it displaying a garden stake or poster, donating what they could afford and offering time to help with tasks both in the office and out. People cancelled holidays, hardly saw their families and got very little sleep. This is what allowed us to achieve this fantastic result!
Thanks to the amazing efforts of our hundreds of volunteers we have had over 81,000 conversations with electors in Exeter since the last General Election and over 31,000 conversations with electors since 18th April 2017 when this election was called. This is an incredible achievement and allowed us to run an effective and winning campaign.
Thank you to all of those who voted Labour on Thursday 8th June. When Theresa May called this unnecessary and costly election it looked like Labour could be facing defeat... Read more
As the 20th anniversary of Ben Bradshaw’s historic election victory in Exeter approaches, Ben has confirmed that he will fight his sixth General Election on 8th June following Theresa May’s announcement that she would go to the country early.
The popular Labour MP first won Exeter from the Tories in Labour’s landslide victory of 1997 and has held it ever since, most recently in 2015 when Ben trebled his majority. Prior to this, Exeter only once had, briefly, a Labour MP.
Bob Foale, Chair of Exeter Labour Party said:
“We are absolutely delighted that Ben is standing again as Exeter’s Labour parliamentary candidate – though it comes as no surprise given his tireless commitment to the people of Exeter and the local party.
Ben works incredibly hard for his constituents and is hugely respected. His energy and passion are infectious and we know he will, as ever, be walking many miles around the streets and up and down the hills of Exeter over the next few weeks talking with residents and listening to their concerns.”
Ben Bradshaw said:
“The people of Exeter are being asked on June 8th to elect the person they want to be their local MP for the next five years. I hope they will back me, based on my record of hard work for Exeter, as the best person to represent them. I am currently the only non-Conservative MP this side of Bristol and I believe it is important for the health of our democracy that we maintain at least one voice who will challenge the Conservative Government and fight for Exeter’s interests. Given the opinion polls this will be an extremely close race and I and my local team hope to meet as many Exeter residents as possible over the next few weeks to listen and take on board their views and concerns.”
As the 20th anniversary of Ben Bradshaw’s historic election victory in Exeter approaches, Ben has confirmed that he will fight his sixth General Election on 8th June following Theresa May’s announcement that... Read more
Allie and I set up our stall at the above event which was a second celebration of International Women's Day in Exeter.
This event was organised by Devon United Women and we attracted many of the women who attended to look at our brochures and display literature and sign our petition cards re protecting Women's Rights within the Brexit negotiations which will be sent to David Davies M.P.
We also joined up one new member and talked to many who stopped at the stall during the 5 hours we were there and were the only political party who participated in the event.
Many thanks to Rose and Lucy who also came to help run the stall.
Allie and I set up our stall at the above event which was a second celebration of International Women's Day in Exeter.This event was organised by Devon United Women and... Read more
Paul Bull was 'a quiet but solid champion of the Labour and Co-operative causes', says Luke Pollard, reflecting on the life of NEC member Paul Bull, who passed away on Sunday.
With his long hair and ever-present bum bag Paul Bull looked an unlikely role model. A Plymouth Argyle supporter living in Exeter, he managed to combine a passion for Devon’s two competing cities with ease. A champion of co-operative values, Paul served our party in various capacities but most recently as the South West’s Co-operative Party NEC delegate. His death leaves us poorer as a region and as a movement.
News of his passing has hit us hard in the south west because Paul was one of those people you simply couldn’t imagine not being there. The ever-present smiling gent, encouraging and supportive, he will be remembered not just as a good, decent man, but as someone who campaigned for and represented his community and his beliefs with true humility and passion.
From the doorstep canvassing sessions in Cowick and St Thomas, the communities he represented in Exeter, to election battles across the region, Paul was a quiet but solid champion of the Labour and Co-operative causes. The lead for communities and culture on Exeter City Council, he managed to promote his city, his ward and his values effortlessly and simultaneously.
The memories and tributes shared online since the news of his death both from friends in the Labour and co-operative movement and our political opponents speak to a man held in high regard by all those who met. A kind patient man, Paul was rarely rushed, taking time to speak to and understand all those around him.
His participation in local groups, in co-operatives, the Exeter Pound local currency and community causes marked him out as one of the co-op movement’s heroes: quietly and passionately getting on with the task of making the world a better place one person at a time, giving everyone the time they deserved and each cause the attention it deserved. Whether you knew Paul or not, we all know someone like Paul. He was the type of person valued by all those around him.
Everyone active in our movement in the Westcountry will recognise his encouragement and support at meetings, the fabled South West Weekend School in Torquay and on the streets. Paul represented the very best of our movement: calm, considered and considerate and willing to stand up to be counted.
Paul was a one off, but there’s someone like Paul in all our communities getting on with it without fanfare or ceremony. I wish I had had the chance to say these words to him because he deserved our thanks for all his efforts for our party and movement. For the Paul in your party and your community please do not leave it until they pass to say how much we value them and what they do for us all.
Paul Bull passed away after a battle with cancer on Sunday evening with his wife Rachel at his side. He was taken from us at the age of 60, far too early. Our thoughts are with Rachel, and comrades and co-operators in Exeter Labour and the South West Co-operative Party.
Paul Bull was 'a quiet but solid champion of the Labour and Co-operative causes', says Luke Pollard, reflecting on the life of NEC member Paul Bull, who passed away on... Read more
International Women’s Day is one of my favourite days of the year. It is the one day of the year that some effort is made to focus on women and their struggle for gender equality – the other 364 days being de facto International Men’s Day.
International Women’s Day has socialist routes. The first Women’s Day was in 1909 and was organised by the Socialist Party of America in remembrance of a strike held by the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union.
Women’s movements in other countries began to commemorate the day and IWD was born. The first celebration in the UK was 1914 with a march from Bow to Trafalgar Square. Unfortunately, the keynote speaker never made it – Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested at Charring Cross Station on her way to speak.
IWD gives us a chance to reflect. Certainly, some steps have been made since 1909, however, we have a long way to go. Despite women making up 50% of the population, women do not make up 50% of MPs, Boardrooms and other institutions. Despite an Equal Pay Act women are routinely paid less than men. The list goes on.
It also gives us an opportunity to think about how history is taught. Why is it when we think of the development of the computer we think of Babbage and Turing and not Ada Lovelace. When it comes to aviation, why do we not learn about Lotfia ElNadi.
Exeter Labour Party has a proud history of amazing women councillors who have made real change in their communities. Through the hard work of the Women’s Council, Exeter Labour Party became the first ruling group on a Council to have gender parity and now has a great selection of candidates being put forward for the Devon County Council elections in May. There is however, much still to do.
Let us honour the women of 1908 by continuing to drive the change they campaigned to see.
By Rob Lambert
International Women’s Day is one of my favourite days of the year. It is the one day of the year that some effort is made to focus on women and... Read more
Speech on Education funding to Cabinet meeting of Devon County Council on 11th January 2017 (discussing proposal to transfer £2.22 million from the Individual Schools Budgets to the Higher Needs budget, leading to a reduction of £33 per pupil in the Age Weighted Pupil Unit)
As I think many here would agree, what this represents is a failure of central government to properly fund education. It is significant that at the same time as the publication of the proposed National Funding Formula the National Audit Office predicted that by 2020 schools overall would suffer an 8% cut in funding in real terms.
When fully implemented the NFF would bring an overall gain for Devon of just 0.38%, with many schools losing out. The small gain won’t even cover the new 0.5% apprenticeship levy. In Exeter the NFF by itself would bring a slight overall loss.
So much hope has been placed in so-called fair funding, especially for counties like Devon significantly below the national average - £270 per pupil less than the national average. The DfE press release states that the NFF will tackle the historical postcode lottery in school funding ensuring that every child is fairly funded according to their specific needs, claiming that this ‘sits at the heart of the government’s pledge to build a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few’.
This government has instead failed to properly fund education on a fair basis and in particular to meet the needs of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, and it has failed Devon schools.
It is alarming that Devon is having to go against its own schools in making this transfer and that the position is unlikely to improve in the future whilst the ability to make such an adjustment is not going to be available henceforth.
Once again a Conservative government underfunds a public service and this county, like others, ends up having to suffer the consequences.
I applaud the letter-writing campaign the council is leading to get MPs to put pressure on the government. Ultimately, though, local Conservative MPs need to vote against the government to get it to reconsider. Will they? I doubt it.
Andy Hannan, Labour County Councillor for Priory & St Leonard’s, Exeter
Speech on Education funding to Cabinet meeting of Devon County Council on 11th January 2017 (discussing proposal to transfer £2.22 million from the Individual Schools Budgets to the Higher Needs... Read more
Dressed in red, Exeter Labour Women joined hundreds of people from all over Devon on Saturday, 3 December, to raise public awareness about the proposed cuts to NHS services. Converging in long red lines from all corners of the city, our banners, leaflets and chants were viewed by festive shoppers whose faces turned from amused to alarmed as they began to realise why we were there.
Barbara, from Exeter, stopped to listen to speakers in Bedford Square instead of buying presents for her family. As hundreds chanted “What do we want? NHS! When do we want it? Always!” and, “Say it loud, say it clear, NHS in place of fear!” Barbara said, “I believe if we don’t stand together and we’re not vociferous the NHS will be dismantled. Everyone is so caught up with their own lives, they don’t realise this is happening. They read about a cut to this and a privatisation. What’s happening across the country is a deliberate Tory ploy to defund the NHS until there’s nothing left. In a few years time it’ll be if you can’t pay go away.”
Lucy, from rural Devon, said, “I had to be here. I was born in the NHS. My father was a doctor and helped to set it up. I was raised in the NHS and I don’t want to die without it.”
James, one of the Save our Hospital Services organisers from Bideford said, “One pound in three is going to be cut from the NHS budget in Devon over the next 5 years.” They are starting with community hospital beds but they’re not stopping there. “County Councillors can refuse to sign off on this plan. It’s not been legally tested, but these cuts could sit in a legal limbo for a time. MPs can work to ensure there is proper funding for the NHS and make sure things things are thought through properly. There are many things in the STP (Sustainability and Transformation Plan) that are quite sensible if they were properly funded and given time to be implemented. It’s pushing them through fast and without the funds that’s the problem,” he said.
More details of the first phase of the STP proposal here http://www.newdevonccg.nhs.uk/abo.../your-future-care/102019
Dressed in red, Exeter Labour Women joined hundreds of people from all over Devon on Saturday, 3 December, to raise public awareness about the proposed cuts to NHS services. Converging... Read more
Residents in St David’s were appalled at the state of the steps leading down from Queen Street, next to the Co-Op in the city centre. Cllr Luke Sills organised a clean-up morning for volunteer residents to work with Exeter City Council street cleaning staff to tidy the steps up. In just over one hour, the volunteers had accumulated several bin bags of rubbish and overgrown plants/weeds and almost filled the back of a waste disposal van! The result is fantastic, and we hope residents in the city centre can see the marked improvement in the state of these popular public steps. Owners of the Jubilee Court estate, Westwood Housing, have also promised to clean away the graffiti that remains around the steps, and to monitor more closely the maintenance of the steps and the surrounding areas. Our thanks to John and the Deep Clean Team at the City Council, and to the resident volunteers who gave up their morning to help. Let’s hope our community keep the stairs looking so pristine!
Residents in St David’s were appalled at the state of the steps leading down from Queen Street, next to the Co-Op in the city centre. Cllr Luke Sills organised a... Read more