What a week! Not only did we gain three seats, but they were all at the expense of the Conservatives, which goes to show that no matter how high they are in the polls we can still beat them.
In June, we underperformed across Cornwall but one of the bright spots was in the new St. Austell & Newquay constituency. Despite this, St. Austell Bay was the 3rd safest Conservative seat in the county. Our candidate was a well known community activist, whereas the Tory candidate didn’t even live in the town – although he was their agent for Cornwall. Both parties matched each other leaflet for leaflet, but we also managed to knock on every door twice. Controversial local planning issues were a key part of the campaign, and these were tied in to a new national Tory policy that would give money to councils in return for approving more planning applications. Under the superb organisation of award-winning agent Hamish McCallum we achieved a 14% swing, which bodes well for Stephen Gilbert at the General Election.
In Stratford-on-Avon we are going from strength to strength. We now have all three county divisions in the town, eight out of 11 district seats and 12 out of 18 town council seats. This ward was once one of the Conservative’s best wards, but after campaigning hard on the issue of overdevelopment and with an intensive literature campaign we now have two of the three councillors.
In High Peak we won back a seat that we had gained once before in a previous by-election. Our candidate was well known in the largest village in the ward – Chinley – and so this helped us on our way to victory. This result will be particularly badly news for the Conservatives in a must-win parliamentary seat where Labour’s majority is just 735.
Although it was an excellent week for the party overall, we did lose a seat in Knowsley in Merseyside, where Labour upped their game and campaigned hard for victory.