Around 250 members of the Labour Party packed into the St Michael’s Centre in Stoke Gifford on Thursday 11th October to hear a motivational speech by leader Jeremy Corbyn, in support of Mhairi Threlfall, the party’s new candidate for the Filton and Bradley Stoke (FaBS) seat.
The members-only event was organised as part of a day-long visit to Bristol by Mr Corbyn in connection with Black History Month, during which he visited the Alone with Empire exhibition at City Hall and met civil rights campaigner Paul Stephenson (known for his role in the Bristol Bus Boycott of 1963).
Also addressing the Stoke Gifford meeting was Labour’s shadow minister for women and equalities Dawn Butler, who earlier in the day had joined Mr Corbyn in announcing plans to set up a new educational trust to promote the teaching of slavery and the struggle for emancipation.
Labour supporters in FaBS were buoyed by the performance of their previous parliamentary candidate Naomi Rylatt, who, in the 2017 general election, recorded a 15 percentage point increase in the party’s share of the vote and reduced current MP Jack Lopresti’s majority to just over 4,000. This was despite Mr Lopresti’s share of the vote increasing by three percentage points to almost 50 percent. The constituency now ranks fourth in Labour’s list of target seats in the south west, which likely explains the reason for Mr Corbyn’s visit.
Speaking after the meeting, Ms Threlfall said:
“It was fantastic to welcome Jeremy to Stoke Gifford. Before speaking to members, I discussed the key issues facing our local area with him – namely policing, education and transport.”
“Crime levels hit a high in Bradley Stoke in June. Cuts have meant we have lost a significant number of police in our area – so we discussed a commitment to community policing and the vital work they do.”
“SGS College has also recently joined a campaign for better college funding. Jeremy reiterated our pledge for a National Education Service that will support education and training needs throughout our lives.”
“And, for the last 15 months I have worked as cabinet member for transport at Bristol City Council, so we spoke extensively about local transport issues. I am so passionate about the constituency, that I’ve made the decision to step down from my cabinet role and focus exclusively on FaBS.”
“It was wonderful to have the Labour leader commit so vocally to our area.”
Photos: 1 L-r: Jeremy Corbyn, Mhairi Threlfall and Dawn Butler on stage at the St Michael’s Centre. 2 Jeremy Corbyn addresses a packed house. [View hi-res versions on Google]
This article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal news magazine (on pages 16 & 17). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.