Labour Party members from Brighton & Hove headed down to the beach to quizz Labour’s deputy leader Ben Bradshaw MP and share a glass of wine with Hove MP Peter Kyle in the sunshine on Saturday August 22.
As deputy leader, Mr Bradshaw says: “I will bring the party back together again. I regret that the leadership campaign has been personal and not about policy. The campaign for deputy has been better.
“If I win, I will have a democratic mandate in my own right and I will work with the leader. I do not have an agenda and I am not factional. I do not want to be leader.
“People need to be free to vote for their preferred candidate.
“I would work in a shadow cabinet where policy must be agreed and developed by consensus.”
Mr Bradshaw believes the Labour Party lost in the 2015 general election because: “We failed to defend our record. The coalition gave a false narrative about the economy.
“There was a deficit of trust in economics and the leadership.
“No democratic party can win when they are so far behind. In 2020 Labour can win.
“The leadership does matter. Labour cannot rely on Scotland coming back.
“There is a huge rebuilding exercise to do with fewer Labour Party members. Labour is not fighting the Scottish National Party effectively.
“They are nationalists, not socialists, and their record on social mobility and equalities is appalling.”
Mr Bradshaw is the only Labour/Conservative marginal seat in the South West in Exeter where he trebled his majority.
He would like to replicate this success across England through hard work, good campaigning and sensible centre left politics.
For Mr Bradshaw the Labour Party is open and inclusive, it does not treat non-Labour party voters as a problem. He had the second highest canvassing rate after Ilford North in London.
Elected in 1997, Mr Bradshaw had a swing of 12000 votes. Exeter constituency has never been a safe Labour seat, it has always been marginal.
He is therefore very keen to help the Labour Party in Hove to consolidate and expand into Sussex, winning in Kemp Town, Hastings and Crawley.
Like Mr Kyle, Mr Bradshaw works hard with businesses in his constituency because nationally the party has little to say to them.
Mrs Sandra Tolley has been a lifelong Labour supporter and when she discovered that she had moved to a constituency with a Labour MP, she said: “It is an unexpected bonus.
“The picnic is my first event in Hove since I joined the party. I left Labour over Iraq but re-joined in 2015.”
Hove MP Peter Kyle said: “I am completely loyal to Labour, I meet people with our values who share their problems and these adapt our priorities.”
“I believe in a new clause four to tackle problems together. I respect differences and am inclusive.
“I am ruthlessly focused on ensuring that every single person has the same opportunity to succeed, socially, economically and to become a fulfilled member of our community.
“I am supporting Ben Bradshaw as deputy leader and I aspire to be the MP that he is.
“He loves the Labour Party and he perfectly fits the challenges of being deputy leader.
“He will manage the people underneath, coordinating them and managing the leader.
“I am supporting Liz Kendall as Labour leader because she is the only candidate who is genuinely listening to public priorities and is not inward looking.
“I am on a mission to learn why we won in Brighton and Hove and lost everywhere else.”
Keith Harrison is another new member who has always been a Labour voter. He joined in the last few weeks and he said: “I put my head above the parapet.”
He describes himself as a Blairite who does not want to lose sight of the good achieved by Tony Blair’s government.
Mr Harrison will also be supporting Liz Kendall for leader and likes the fact that she went to a state school which is evidence that she has used publicly funded services.