‘Aldershot’s had Tory MPs since 1918. Our win shows Labour can win anywhere’

Keith Dibble

Friday 5 July, 03.15. The Returning Officer says: “I hear-by declare Alex Baker duly elected as the Member of Parliament for the Aldershot constituency.

A day we in the Aldershot Constituency Labour Party always hoped for but never believed would happen. What changed?

In 1994, I and liked minded colleagues formed ‘Third Place First’. A network to encourage our party to stand candidates at every elections with the aim to maximise the Labour vote in every seat.

This achieved immediate support from many CLP’s, saw an increase in candidates standing in local elections. Winning council seats in the ‘no go’ areas and played a part in laying the foundation for the 1997 general election landslide victory.

From one landslide to another

Moving forward 27 years, those original TPF principals contributed to the unbelievable result in 4 May. Building on the the success of local council elections  such as Bracknell Forest, Rushmoor and Charnwood laid the foundation for parliamentary gains.

That success saw good quality and competent candidates applying for seats in the previous ‘no go, no hope’ constituencies. Seats where  members had experienced winning in local elections, and the confidence to campaign for then election a Labour MP in their seat.

Regional Directors and party HQ acknowledged this and put resources into the seats were Labour could win.

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In Aldershot region appointed a full time organiser to work with us to run the local elections. Working with our enthusiastic and brilliant  Parlaimentary Candidate Alex Baker.

Labour took control of Rushmoor Borough Council with a majority for the first time in the Councils 50 year existance.

With in days of the local elections, a general election was called. There was no break in our campaigning, and building on the success in May we were able to campaign with confidence for Alex Baker to win the seat. She did with a 23.2% swing.

Labour gains around the country

After serving as an opposition councillors for 40 year, I’m proud to be a member of a Labour council cabinet, and now working with our first ever Labour MP.

This didn’t happen by chance, years of fighting and winning local elections, being the best community councillors in our area, always being high profile, using social media and selecting the right candidate for your constituency. You can go from third place and win.

In July 2024, my ward is Labour (I polled 82.5 in May, compared to 40% in 1984), my council is Labour controlled (I’m a cabinet member), my MP is Labour, and my Government is Labour.

Labour is a nation party, we should fight every seat. Let me repeat myself, there are no ‘no go’ areas for Labour. 4 July 2024 proved the point.

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