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
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