Dear Kingston & Surbiton Labour Party members,
I would like to extend my warmest thanks on behalf of the whole CLP to all of the activists that dedicated so much of their time, energy and care into this election campaign.
I share in your heartbreak and disappointment. Volunteers from our local party supported Labour teams across London, most notably in Wimbledon and Uxbridge. We can take some consolation from the fact that our volunteers’ work in seats such as Putney and Battersea paid off. Closer to home, however, it was sad to see our vote share drop in Twickenham, Richmond Park and Kingston & Surbiton – part of a devastating trend that we’ve seen unfold in recent years. Each and every one of the parliamentary candidates we fought for would have made thoughtful, committed and compassionate MPs. They deserved better.
A combination of factors led to our defeat and it will take a period of reflection to fully make sense of them. At this stage, it is clear that Labour nationally were unable to hold back a wave of anti-EU sentiment that had been brewing for decades and whipped up by successive British governments. In South West London, we faced an aggressive challenge from the Lib Dems that centred on promoting tactical voting rather than offering hope or vision.
I am proud that we stood in this election on a platform to transform British society and were led by a man of principle. In the coming weeks, it is more important than ever for us to come together as a party, as a movement and as a community to oppose what will likely be the most right-wing government in living memory or even British history.
There are so many people in our CLP that deserve commendation. Leanne Werner would have made a wonderful MP, and hopefully one day still will. Dave Cooper acted as a tireless election agent, providing organisational expertise. Johnnie Byrne and Pat Dobson, our superb joint secretaries, are dedicated activists that provide us all with much inspiration. Kezia Coleman continues to run our social media profiles diligently and professionally. Martin Ellis, Caoilte O’Connor, Liz Meerabeau, Phil Austin, Simon Ayre, Judith Cowley, Gerry Jones, Greta Farian, Hinde El-Ghaly, Rosemary Bollins, Grace Bollins, Charlie Deacon, Tony Banks and countless more besides deserve special mentions.
Everyone that leafleted, everyone that bundled, everyone that distributed, everyone that canvassed, everyone that donated… everyone who resisted the pressure and voted for us deserves our deepest respect and friendship.
The light is brightest in the dark.
Chair for Kingston & Surbiton Labour Party