The UK General Election - 4th July 2024

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On the Campaign Trail: Promoting Labour’s Offer in Ipswich

Jack Abbott

Senior Account Manager

The Labour Party has now selected well over 150 candidates in its key target seats as we prepare for the next General Election. I, and a number of my colleagues, have been in place for well over a year now, and could yet still have at least another nine months of incredibly hard work ahead of us too.

I had a decided that I would put my name forward a couple of months before the selection process for Ipswich opened and I knew I had to get the foundations of the ‘campaign before the campaign’ ready. Although a six-week process sounds lengthy, in reality, given the many stages – long-listing, short-listing, hustings – you simply don’t have time to wait. This is especially true with a modern-day selection campaign, where quality social media content, a candidate video and a decent personal website are all requisites.

Being a former county councillor, and as someone who had been involved in Ipswich politics for over a decade, I understood the key issues in the town, and had already built strong relationships with many key figures in the local party. However, while I was immensely grateful for their support and advice, I also knew that with hundreds more votes in play, I had to talk to as many members as I could within a very short timeframe. So well as building my online presence, I did the old-fashioned bread and butter of any campaign: I got on my campaigning shoes, knocked on doors, and went to talk to people.

Going into the final hustings, I was backed by a number of unions and affiliates, and had received unanimous support from all the wards that made a nomination. However, most importantly, I had met nearly every person in the room in the weeks leading up to the vote.

This is essentially the template that I’m now deploying in my campaign to become the next MP for Ipswich. I am working hard to elevate the quality of our campaign, including online which is now a major ‘battleground’ area. I am meeting a range of organisations on visits, building my profile in the local media and pulling in funding for our campaign. However, our job, fundamentally, is to promote Labour’s offer to voters in Ipswich. Again, that is not much more complicated than going out and talking to people across the town, but that doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work. That means we are building our campaign team’s capacity, and hitting the doorsteps multiple times a week. Although I might be leading our campaign, I simply won’t be able to get over the line without the selfless dedication shown by dozens of volunteers, week in, week out.

While the polls are favourable at present, we know the Labour Party will have to achieve a largest swing in electoral history to form a majority Government. That will mean taking dozens of seats with five-figure majorities, only five years after one of the largest defeats in our Party’s history. We have made remarkable progress since 2019, but we are under no illusions that there is still a lot more to do.

Yet, while there is a huge responsibility on our shoulders as candidates and as a Party, there is a real purpose about our group too. There is a sense that this is an incredibly strong group of candidates, with a breadth of experiences and backgrounds. There is clearly a lot of talent, and while we are focused on the battle immediately ahead of us, we also have a clear long-term vision for what we want to achieve for the areas we seek to represent, and the country as a whole.

We know that this is likely going to be the most important election of our lives, and are giving everything to change our country for the better.

Jack Abbott, Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for Ipswich

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