The Labour Party Annual Conference 2023
SME4Labour and KEKST CNC fringe: ‘In Focus’: Voters in Marginal Constituencies Give Their Verdict
🗓 Date: Monday, 9 October 2023
⏳ Time: 15:00
📍Location: SME4Labour POD (Meeting Room 22), ACC Liverpool, Kings Dock Street, Liverpool, England, L3 4FP
SME4Labour and KEKST CNC fringed: In Focus’: Voters in Marginal Constituencies Give Their Verdict with Dr Tom Lubbock, founding partner of J.L. Partners; Gareth Snell, former MP and Labour PPC for Stoke-on-Trent Central; Christian Wakeford MP, Opposition Whip; Claire Hazlegrove, Labour PPC for Filton and Bradley Stoke and Dr Alan Wager, Political Analyst at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. This panel discussion was chaired by Joe Shipley, Partner at KEKST CNC.
During the discussion, the issue of the cost of living emerged as a pivotal concern, with Joe Shipley prompting a closer examination of how it differs from other focal topics. Christian Wakeford underscored that for a significant segment of voters, the cost of living stands as the foremost concern. He highlighted the oversight of this critical issue in recent debates, particularly within conservative conferences, emphasizing that the financial strains associated with the cost of living deeply resonate with swing voters who are actively seeking political leaders and parties willing to address this pressing matter.
Dr Tom Lubbock drew attention to the broad public support for the 2050 Net Zero Target, reflecting widespread acknowledgement of global warming’s human-caused reality and the collective desire to take action. However, he emphasized the necessity of establishing a clear connection, through branding and messaging, between the aspiration for Net Zero and the concrete policies designed to realize this goal. The absence of this connection, as observed with swing voters, leaves a void in understanding and advocacy.
Claire Hazlegrove emphasized the public’s scepticism regarding the government’s ability to fulfil its promises. She expressed the responsibility of the Labour Party to instil trust through a demonstrated commitment to delivering on their pledges. This, she suggested, could be achieved through strong and genuine commitments made by the party.
Gareth Snell added an essential dimension to the discussion, stressing that the Labour Party should not shy away from having challenging conversations with the electorate. He advocated for discussing various topics, encompassing not only the cost of living, education, healthcare, and crime but also issues related to defence, security, and immigration. He urged the party to focus on understanding the electorate’s concerns deeply and translate that understanding into diplomatic actions. Additionally, he highlighted the importance of maintaining the party’s values, principles, and convictions when addressing sensitive topics, as abandoning these could risk alienating voters.
In conclusion, the panel discussion revolved around key issues such as the paramount concern of the cost of living among swing voters and the need for political leaders and parties to acknowledge this issue. The conversation also touched upon the importance of effectively linking environmental goals with clear and practical policies. Furthermore, the panel highlighted the significance of instilling trust in the electorate through strong commitments and the need for the Labour Party to address a broad spectrum of topics without shying away from challenging conversations while adhering to its core values.