WE have asked Thurrock Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate to reflect on what was a very busy month for both herself and her party.
Jennifer Craft said: “October has been a month where two stunning by election victories and a successful Labour party conference have demonstrated that it is Labour who are winning the trust and support of people nationally.
Starting out in Liverpool at Party Conference, I was inspired by Keir Starmer’s speech, one full of optimism and hope, that didn’t shy away from the fact that the work to rebuild Britain would be a long hard road, with long term objectives delivered over a decade or more of national renewal.
The speech started with an event that could have been a complete disaster, when a protester stormed the stage and covered Keir with glitter. However, talking to people since, it appears that there is a strong feeling that the Labour Leader’s response, literally rolling up his sleeves and getting on with the job, demonstrated how much the party has changed – we are a serious party of power, not of protest.
This leadership has been evident over the last month amidst a backdrop of increasing horror and concern at events in Israel and Gaza – Keir has been crystal clear from the outset on our commitment to a two state solution, Israel’s right to defend itself and the utmost need for all parties to adhere to international law and humanitarian priorities.
I left Liverpool feeling energised and ready to continue to campaign here in Thurrock to gain the trust of my neighbours over the next year.
That excitement was rekindled on 19 October when I travelled to Mid-Bedfordshire to ask voters to support our candidate in one of the safest Conservative seats in the country. I spoke to so many voters, like here in Thurrock, who were so angry with the Conservatives for their skyrocketing mortgages, increasing prices in the shops and a general sense of having been bitterly let down.
The result of that by-election, and the one held on the same day in Telford, was astonishing. The biggest majority overturned in history in Mid-Bedfordshire shows how disillusioned people are with the Tories, but also that they are now willing to give Labour their support.
However, we are not complacent about the challenge ahead. Time and again on the doorstep, I am hearing that people are fed up with the state of politics, I think it is hard to underestimate the damage that has been done to our political landscape by recent successive Conservative Prime Ministers.
I will be on the doorstep every week until whenever the next election is, listening to people in Thurrock – continuing to chat about our shared frustrations and hearing people’s priorities and aspirations for the future. Keir’s speech in Liverpool and the two historic byelection victories in Mid-Bedfordshire and Telford have started to demonstrate what is possible – there is a real appetite for change and Labour is ready for the challenge ahead.