Progress | Centre-left Labour politics

No ‘no-go’ areas

Labour’s local election campaign has got off to an excellent start with the news that we are fielding the most candidates of any of the parties.

Increasing the number of wards contested was set as a key performance indicator by the NEC in the run-up to the May 2011 elections and it is excellent to see general secretary Iain McNicol and his team have continued to prioritise it.

As well as reflecting a considerable organisational effort by head office and regional party staff, the news is an indicator of regeneration of organisational capacity in CLPs and of increasing activist morale – members won’t agree to be candidates when they don’t feel upbeat and positive about the party. It demonstrates our intention to be a truly national party with no ‘no-go’ areas.

With the Tories and Lib Dems in coalition together it is a travesty of democracy if voters don’t have the opportunity to vote Labour locally because we fail to field a candidate.

This year’s figures – based on a preliminary analysis by the party so they may be tweaked – are as follows in England and Wales:

•    Labour 3,168 candidates (87 per cent of seats contested)
•    Tory 2,822 candidates (78 per cent of seats contested)
•    Lib Dem 2,038 candidates (56 per cent of seats contested)

In Scotland there are multi-member wards elected by single transferable vote, so the number of candidates each party stands is primarily determined by tactical considerations about how many first preference votes there are to go round.

Particular congratulations to Alan Olive, Labour’s East of England regional director, and his team, who are fielding a candidate in every ward up for election this year in a region which is far from a Labour heartland.


Read more about the Third Place First campaign, rebuilding the party’s presence across the country


Luke Akehurst is a constituency representative on Labour’s NEC, a councillor in Hackney, writes regularly for Progress here and blogs here

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Luke Akehurst

is director of We Believe in Israel and a former member of Labour's National Executive Committee


  • Luke, You are obviously in a position to be able to state statistics and data. Unfortunately what you do not do is engage in meaningful debate with your audience. This epitomises the present Labour attitude of lets preach and not listen and debate with the community, that is all communities.

    You would get more respect if you engaged more with meaningful attitude. There is a problem with Labour, running campaigns and conversations on website, twitter, facebook and all virtual reality is failing to reach the full audience. You are only promoting the old, outdated Blairite mentality.

    It would be advisable if you make a contribution in your earlier article on Bradford instaed of ignoring contributors on a regular basis.

    This is not the expectations required of a NEC representative is it.

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