Third Place First logo

Third Place First is the Progress network to help CLPs fight back against the Tory government and take Labour in seats like Bristol North West, Cambridge, Reading East and Watford from third place to first place. The network looks to help local Labour parties win council seats and build capacity in places where Labour is third place.


Third Place First welcomes launch of Southern Taskforce website
As Chair of a Third Place First I was very pleased to receive an email at the weekend from Ed Miliband launching the Southern Taskforce website

Labour’s Southern Taskforce is led by a great supporter of Third Place First, John Denham MP, who, since being elected in 1992, has highlighted the need for the Labour party to acknowledge the challenges it faces in southern England.

To win in 2015 we must build a strong local government base and as a local councillor I welcome the taskforce focusing on the good work undertaken by Labour groups in the south, whether in control or opposition.

Southern England is not seen as a Labour heartland, yet it is vital for Labour, because if we win the key target marginal seats in the south, we will win the general election.

There are great challenges for Labour in the south but also huge opportunities. So please join the Southern Taskforce and support the campaign.

Keith Dibble
Chair, Third Place First

Six of Labour’s 106 target seats are Third Place First seats. There are two Third Place First seats among targets 1-66:

* Matthew Turmaine is Labour’s candidate for Watford, target seat #61
* Mary Galbraith is Labour’s candidate for Argyll & Bute, target seat #64

There are four Third Place First seats in the Frontline 40 – the 40 seats that will make up a working majority for Labour in 2015. The candidates are:

* Colne Valley: target seat #76, tenth on the Frontline 40 list
* Darren Jones is Labour’s candidate for Bristol North West: target seat #87, 21st on the Frontline 40 list
* Daniel Zeichner is Labour’s candidate for Cambridge: target seat #103, 37th on the Frontline 40 list
* Alex Sobel is Labour’s candidate for Leeds North West: target seat #106, 40th on the Frontline 40 list

Find out more about them and follow their campaigns here.

As Keith Dibble highlighted when Third Place First was relaunched, there are a number of seats that Labour won between 1997 and 2010 where it is now in third place, which we must take back to deliver another Labour majority. They are: Cambridge, Hemel Hempstead, Bristol North West, Watford, Castle Point, Reading East, St Albans, Wimbledon, North West Norfolk, Wyre Forest, Shrewsbury and Atcham, and Leeds North West.

The latest news on the campaign:

Looking back at Third Place First conference 2014

27 January 2014

You can look back over what happened at the conference (which took place on Saturday 25 January in Watford) here:

No ‘no-go’ areas for Labour: What are the challenges of 2014 and 2015? (Storify)
* Keynote: Harriet Harman MP Deputy leader, Labour party (Guardian story| Watford Observer story)
* Keith Dibble Chair, Third Place First network (ProgressOnline article)
* Angela Gunning Councillor, Guildford borough council
* Darren Jones PPC for Bristol North West (ProgressOnline article)
* Chair: Josh Newlove Councillor, East Riding council

How can Labour take the fight to the Tories and Lib Dems? (Storify)
* Keynote: Caroline Flint MP Shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change; shadow cabinet lead for the south-east
* Zoe Tyndall Research lead, Britain Thinks (ProgressOnline ‘Meet the swing voters’ research)
* Daniel Zeichner PPC for Cambridge (ProgressOnline article)
* Chair: Michael Hassell South-east rep, Labour National Policy Forum (Southern Front article)

Third Place First Question Time (Storify)
* Maria Eagle MP Shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs (LabourList article)
* Patrick Diamond Vice-chair, Policy Network (Comment is free article | Guardian story)
* Farah Nazeer MEP candidate, south-east region
* Matthew Turmaine PPC for Watford (ProgressOnline article)
* Chair: Richard Angell Deputy director, Progress

Other articles related to Third Place First conference 2014:
* Third Place First in review | Howard Linsley, ProgressOnline, 4 February 2014
Westmorland and Lonsdale needs Labour as much as anywhere else | Jonathan Todd, Labour Uncut, 23 January 2014
* Think national, act local | Duncan Enright, ProgressOnline, 21 January 2014
* Six seats to watch in 2015 | Alex White, ProgressOnline, 9 January 2013

Harriet Harman MP is confirmed to speak at Third Place First conference 2014.

See more at: 

Third Place First conference 2014 announced
No ‘no-go’ areas in the campaign for a Labour majority

Saturday 25 January 2014 | West Herts College, Hempstead Road, Watford WD17 3EZ

Keynote speakers:
Harriet Harman MP Deputy leader, Labour party
Maria Eagle MP Shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs
Caroline Flint MP Shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change and shadow cabinet lead for the south-east

See more at: 

Labour’s election scorecard 2013
4 May 2013

‘Of the 13 councils where we had 0 to 2 county councillors each in 2009 (Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Dorset, Essex, Hampshire, Kent, North Yorkshire, Somerset, Suffolk, Surrey, West Sussex, and Wiltshire) we have gone from a total of  just 16 to 83 councillors, with representation on every authority, and in one case (Suffolk) a Labour Group of 15!’

Luke Akehurst, LabourList

Labour selects candidate in third place first seat, Watford
25 February 2013

Yesterday, Watford CLP selected local councillor Matthew Turmaine as its parliamentary candidate. Watford is 59 on Labour’s target list and is a therefore a vital third place first seat for Labour to win to get Ed Miliband in Downing Street. Help Matthew raise the much needed funds to run his third place first campaign to unseat the Tories by donating now.

Find out more about Matthew’s campaign here: and follow him on Twitter now.

Labour selects candidate in third place seat, Reading East
2 December 2012

Matt Rodda has been selected by local Labour party members in Reading East as Labour’s candidate for the next general election, expected in 2015.

Matt is married with two children and lives in Caversham. A former civil servant, he is now a charity project manager. He was elected as Labour councillor for Katesgrove last year, comfortably taking the seat from the Liberal Democrats, and has been active on a huge range of community issues across the ward.

As assistant lead councillor for health, the NHS will be one of the centre pieces of Matt’s campaign. He says: “The NHS is one of those great British institutions that bind us together, that make us One Nation, and one that we must fight to keep and protect. The Health & Social Care Bill, which we campaigned against in Reading because it opens the floodgates for privatisation of the NHS, is now an Act, but one that Labour has pledged to repeal, and only a Labour victory in 2015 will secure that repeal.”

The Labour party is now in third place after the seat was lost at the 2005 general election. Progress’ Third Place First network will help Labour come back in seats like Reading East.

Help Matt Rodda’s campaign here:

Labour selects candidate in third place seat, Bristol North West
24 November 2012

The Labour party has announced that Darren Jones has been selected as its candidate for the Bristol North West constituency at the next general election.

Darren, born and bred in Bristol North West, would, if elected in 2015, be the first MP for the constituency to have been born here.

Darren said, “I would like to thank the Bristol North West Labour party for selecting me as their candidate to fight this very important constituency at the next general election. I will work tirelessly to show that this coalition government offers no solutions to the problems that the people of Bristol North West experience in their everyday lives, and no solutions for our ailing economy.”

I will offer a clear vision for the future of this constituency – with more jobs to rebuild the local economy, more front-line police to keep our community safe, and a health service open to all that we can all be proud of. I will campaign on that vision alongside my Labour party colleagues and the wider community, standing up to the coalition government and challenging the current MP to deliver a better deal for Bristol North West.”

And I will offer a new style of politics as part of a new generation of politicians. I want to engage with all people and organisations, regardless of how you vote, to get the best deal for Bristol North West.”

The Labour party is now in third place following the former Labour MP, Doug Naysmith, standing down at the 2010 general election. Progress’ Third Place First network will help Labour come back in seats like Bristol North West.

Join Darren Jones’ campaign here:

Labour selects candidate in third place seat, Cambridge
14 July 2012

Daniel Zeichner was selected as Labour’s candidate in Cambridge, where Labour is now in third place having lost the seat in 2005. Daniel, who was the candidate at the last election, will work to win the seat back for Labour.

Speaking about his selection, Daniel said, “I am delighted and honoured to have been chosen to contest the next general election in Cambridge for Labour.

At the last election, many thousands of Cambridge voters backed the Liberal Democrats based on a series of promises: to abolish student tuition fees; not to raise VAT; to stimulate the economy and maintain jobs. Instead, they see Julian Huppert going through the division lobbies supporting Conservative policies which they find abhorrent: privatizing our National Health Service; pursuing budget cuts which drive our economy into recession; destroying our locally accountable education system; and introducing savage and cruel cuts to our welfare system. My task over the next period is to persuade those disappointed former Liberal Democrat supporters that Labour with Ed Miliband offers  the positive, progressive alternative that they are looking for.”

The Third Place First network will help Labour come back in seats like Cambridge.

Join Daniel’s campaign here:

Labour storms from fourth to first in Norfolk county council by-election
28 September 2012

Today, Labour came first from fourth place in the safe Tory seat of Clenchwarton and Lynn South.

More infomation about Alex Kemp’s victory is here.

Third Place First Meet-up at Labour party conference 2012

8 October 2012

We invited all those from one of the 211 seats where we came third in the 2010 election to come along and find out about Third Place First and how it could help you, with Caroline Flint MP, Richard Angell and Keith Dibble at the Midland Bar in Manchester for an informal get-together.

Parish councillor Howard Linsley wrote his review of this event here, offering his ideas of how to take Third Place First forward

Articles from the Third Place First conference on Saturday 23 June 2012 in Reading:

Small Labour groups make a difference
Keith Dibble | 17 July 2012

Targeting to win a ‘no-go’ area
Harry Gregson | 10 July 2012

Winning on a budget – top tips
Steve Race | 5 July 2012

Cornwall is no ‘no-go area’
June Robinson | 26 June 2012

How to go from ‘nowt’ to ‘summat’
Stephen Bush | 25 June 2012

One-nation Labour
Harriet Harman MP’s speech to Third Place First conference | 23 June 2012

The fightback has started
Caroline Flint MP’s speech to Third Place First conference | 23 June 2012

A useful start but…
Murray Rowlands | 26 June 2012

Cornwall is no ‘no-go area’
Jude Robinson | 26 June 2012

The Bickerstaffe campaign
Paul Cotterill | 22 June 2012

Winning in the south: Rushmoor
Keith Dibble | 19 June 2012

Labour need to recover in the South for political principle, not just electoral advantage

Writing for Left Foot Forward, Patrick Diamond says Labour must ‘develop a coherent and compelling analysis of why it lost’ the south.

Labour’s missing seven million
Caroline Flint  | 23 June 2012 | LabourList

Caroline Flint MP writes for LabourList, looking at the electoral position of the Labour party in the south.

Third Place First conference
Saturday 23 June 2012 | Reading

We are delighted to announce that we will be holding the first Third Place First conference on Saturday 23 June 2012 in Reading. Please keep the date free and help us make up ground on the Tories in traditionally blue seats.

The shadow cabinet coordinator for the south-east, Caroline Flint MP, will be the keynote speaker and will take part in a Q&A session, alongside workshops and training sessions.

Please email for more details.

Southern comfort
Caroline Flint MP | 28 May 2012

This year’s local elections saw the first real signs of a Labour revival in the electorally vital south, says Caroline Flint

The hidden majority myth
Joan Ryan | 28 May 2012

Targeting only former Liberal Democrat voters is a recipe for failure, explains Joan Ryan

Changing to win
Iain McNicol | 25 May 2012

We must become the party that makes change happen in local communities

A good night for Labour
Paul Richards | 4 May 2012

There were good gains for Labour across the south in the local elections. The presence of Labour councillors gives parliamentary candidates a support mechanism, and an activist base

‘Red blob in the south’
John Denham MP | 11 April 2012

Memories of the 1992 election as one of the few Labour MPs in the south

No ‘no-go’ areas
Luke Akehurst | 11 April 2012

A look at Labour’s intention to be a national party in the campaign for the 2012 local elections

Putting the red back into Redhill
Rhys Williams | 30 January 2012

The less presence the party has in our local communities, the harder it will be for the party in Westminster to rebuild electoral support

Rural Labour reborn
Steve Race | 8 December 2011

Labour has succeeded in the countryside in the past and could do so again with some hard work and imaginative manoeuvres

Watch out Osborne – Labour’s on the way
Peter Wheeler | 21 July 2011

Peter Wheeler – organiser of the Third Place First north west network inaugural meeting – writes for Progress about the project

Third Place First northwest

22 July 2011 | 7.30pm
Heritage Centre, Macclesfield

The Labour party needs to be a strong campaigning force in every part of the country, whether in strong Labour areas or in rural or suburban areas. There can be no ‘no-go’ areas for Labour.

Nationally it’s vital that we win the key marginal seats at a general election but it also vital that Labour members are supported in every area. That’s why Progress and other Labour members have set up Third Place First, dedicated to building Labour in the areas where we came third at the last general election.

We will be having a launch meeting on Friday July 22 at 7.30pm at the Heritage Centre, Macclesfield, SK11 6UT with Cllr Keith Dibble, national chair of Third Place First. All Labour members and supporters in our third placed seats are invited to come along and contribute as to how we can build the party locally.

We aim to follow this up with a meeting in the north of the region for members in that area.

Peter Wheeler

Third Place First
Michael Hassell | 20 May 2011

When Keith Dibble, a great friend and comrade from Aldershot CLP, rang and told me that Richard Angell had been in touch to say that Progress wanted to have one of their campaign days in Guildford and Aldershot I was surprised and delighted.

The tortoise and the hare
Jack Storry | 8 April 2011

Many seats that Labour needs to win again appear out of reach. But innovation and hard graft can win them back – if the party accords its candidates time and space, argues Jack Storry.

No ‘no-go’ areas for Labour
Benjamin Butterworth | 1 April 2011

Situated in the leafy Cheshire countryside, Tatton is a constituency in stark contrast to much of its neighbouring south Manchester. The Independent has reported the area to be ‘the richest constituency in Britain’ where champagne and Aston Martins are in high demand.

Ed Miliband announces his support for Third Place First

At a press conferenceon Monday 14 March, Ed Miliband asked about how Labour would win back in the South cited Third Place First and the campaign, which helps councillors leap-frog from third place to first place, was a “very good idea”.

Read more here.

Third Place First campaign days announced

Campaigning days have been scheduled in Hemel Hempstead on 26 February 2011 and Guildford and Aldershot on 16 April 2011. Please do join us then.

Labour on the Southern Front
Stuart King | 21 January 2011

Progress supported the relaunch this week of Third Place First, the Labour campaign to win in seats where we are currently in third place. Not because we cannot form a majority Labour government without winning in places like Hemel Hempstead – we can and we have. Its importance lies in the lessons Third Place First will bring to the party as we seek to win back the lost voters we need if we are to form a Labour government again.

Third Place First launch event

Committee room 7, House of Commons, 7pm, 18 January 2011
With Keith Dibble, Andy Burnham, Stephen Twigg, Joan Ryan, Deborah Mattinson, Richard Angell

Access all areas
Keith Dibble | 6 December 2010

In the 1990s Keith Dibble was at the heart of taking Labour into ‘unwinnable’ seats – and capturing them. Now, with Progress, he relaunches Third Place First, the campaign for the party to rebuild its presence throughout the country.

More information

Please email to find our more about the Third Place First campaign.





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