‘We will win again,’ Labour’s defeated General Election candidate Peter Chowney has told his supporters today.
He says the campaign was, “…a humbling and heart-warming experience” and tell his them: “There is so much support for real change. There is compassion and commitment, and an implacable resolve. There is determination. There is hope.”
Mr Chowney says that despite the result – he had 22,853 votes, 4,043 fewer than Conservative Sally-Ann Hart – it was inspiring to see so many people involved in his campaign. On election day more than 500 people were helping in the constituency, many from London with others from as far afield as Grimsby, Scotland and even Kansas and California in the US.
“During the course of the six-week campaign, the numbers involved here in Hastings and Rye ran into the thousands. Your enthusiasm, commitment and hard work was very moving and something I’ll never forget,” he says.
In addition to Brexit he says Labour was defeated in part by the perceptions of Jeremy Corbyn: “I say ‘perceptions’, because any Labour leader putting a radical manifesto to the people will be attacked and demonised by the Tory-owned press.
“We need to think about how to counter that more effectively, without reducing ourselves to the negative messages and gutter politics that have won this election for the Tories. We must rise above that.
“…when the key policies in the manifesto were tested in opinion polls independently and individually, they all proved to be overwhelmingly popular. Brexit will happen now, and we’ll have to suffer the consequences, which won’t be good, especially in those parts of the country that voted most strongly to leave the EU.” says Mr Chowney.
Jeremy Corbyn he says will be remembered for his democratisation of the Labour Party and the way he transformed it from what Mr Chowney describes as, “a moribund organisation with a diminishing membership of ageing individuals to a dynamic, member-led, radical young movement, the largest political organisation in Europe.”
He warns that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan “will soon disintegrate”. Mr Chowney says that the Prime Minister, “cannot pay for any of his modest spending ’promises’ without tax rises – either the promises or the commitment to not raising taxes will be proved to have been yet another lie fairly quickly.”
He concludes by telling Labour Party supporters: “We have to build on the enthusiasm generated during the election campaign in Hastings and Rye and we will. Most importantly, we must not let all those young people become disillusioned, we must keep them enthused.
“I’m prepared to see the Labour manifesto as a long-term strategy, something to build on. Labour will not be eclipsed in Hastings and Rye. The campaign to win this seat back for Labour starts right now!”
Hear what Mr Chowney had to say when he spoke to Hastings In Focus in the run up to the election…