Bridgwater Branch Labour Party

Labour Activists Meet to Discuss Constitutional Crisis

Friday, 30 August 2019Leave a reply
A step too far…?

Bridgwater Labour activists angered at the way that Tory PM Boris Johnson has prorogued Parliament in the run up to the Brexit deadline have called an emergency meeting to discuss the issue. Activist Liam Tucker is inviting people to the Labour Rooms at the rear of Bridgwater Town Hall (Clare street entrance) for a get together on Saturday 31st August at 4pm.

Liam says I’m calling for an urgent meeting to discuss the unprecedented prorogation of the sovereign parliament and to gather information and parley to coordinate a unified response to a direct attack on our democracy. The time is now, these lunatics have been left unchecked and unchallenged, madness has engulfed the country and now it grasps in its claws the mother of all parliaments. Unite and drive it back under the rocks from whence it came.”

Find the meeting here on facebook.

Labour to Launch Local Elections Campaign at Bridgwater Arts Centre

Wednesday, 3 April 2019Leave a reply

election launchOn Friday 5th April the campaign to keep control of Bridgwater Town Council and take control of Sedgemoor District Council will be launched from the country’s first art centre in Bridgwater’s historic Castle Street. Labour control the Town Council with a commanding majority winning 14 out of 16 seats in 2015 and are the main opposition to Tory Sedgemoor with 10 seats against the Conservative 35, UKIP 2 and Lib Dem 1. Labour are fielding candidates in all Sedgemoor wards and by Friday the state of the opposition will be known so please come along to the Bridgwater Arts Centre and hear the scale of the challenge, meet the candidates and of course the bar will be open.

Continue reading “Labour to Launch Local Elections Campaign at Bridgwater Arts Centre”

Labour Election Campaign: The Next Steps

Wednesday, 12 December 2018Leave a reply
Town Leader Brian Smedley and District Group Leader Mick Lerry at the last election count in 2015.

On May 2nd 2019 there will be elections for Sedgemoor District Council and the various Town and Parish Councils in our region. Members have already selected candidates for most of our key seats but there are still others we need names for. However, the next step in the election is to draw up our manifesto, plan the campaign needed both strategically and crucially locally. Therefore EVERY MEMBER is invited on Saturday January 19th to the Victoria Park Community Centre, Bridgwater for a major session to thrash out all of the above. This will last from 10am until 1pm.


At the meeting candidates will get their photos done, while members get down to work to finalise a manifesto.  People will be organised in ward groups to discuss campaigns and sort out personal statements for their candidates and to identify key issues..
For the Manifesto  there will be a seperate meeting on Tues 15 Jan to ‘draft’ a manifesto’ for submission to the meeting on january 19 for everyone to comment and input into and change. BUT we especially need IDEAS  from ordinary members ahead of that  session to make sure they’re factored in. If you have thoughts on manifesto content then please send it to Brian Smedley ( ahead of the manifesto meeting or of course also attend on the 19th where we will be deciding what we finally want.
Gary Tucker and John Fones have outlined a campaign strategy and this will form the basis of the discussion for how it is implemented across the District or locally, or a bit of both. Brian Smedley has cost up prices for the traditional literature which include election addresses and a copy of the newspaper ‘Bridgwater Rose’ but all new ideas are welcome.
Candidates;- There remains some fluidity in candidates and wards and we really need everyone in place by 19th January so we are now urging any waverers to come forward and especially North Sedgemoor area to have its candidates in place well ahead of 19th. In the Bridgwater area we are looking for people who might like to stand in the following wards – Woolavington & Puriton , West Poldens, East Poldens, King’s Isle, North Petherton, Quantocks, Cannington & Wembdon, and Huntspill while in the North Sedgemoor area Highbridge is a key target seat and candidates are also needed for the remainder of Burnham on Sea and all areas up to and including Cheddar. If you wish to be considered for the Bridgwater are contact Brian Smedley ( or for the North Sedgemoor Area contact Julia Timothy (
If you want a friendly chat about options, candidacy, campaigns and the Labour party generally don;t forget to come along to our Labour Christmas Social at the Bridgwater Arts centre on Saturday 22nd December from 7pm!!

It’s the Bridgwater Labour Party Christmas Social 2018!!!!

Friday, 7 December 20181 Reply

xmas partySo here it is, happy cheerful merry Christmas 2018 and so it’s time for our annual Christmas Party! Everyone is invited to the Bridgwater Art Centre on Saturday 22nd December from 7pm till, well, when we finish. Bring  a friend. Get your friend to bring a friend. Bring some food. Get your friend to bring some food. Bring a Tory. No, let’s not get daft here. Bring yourself. Come to the Arts Centre. it’ll be fun. There’ll be a bar. There’ll be a video jukebox set up that anyone can use. There’ll be food. (Oh, did I mention, bring some food?). Bring some decorations (cos there’s bugger all there). Get your friends to, no we’ve done that one. There’ll be a quiz. (Will there? Ok, there might be a short quiz) . I expect there’ll be a raffle. Bring some raffle prizes!! Bring your xmas cards to give to all your many Labour Party chums who’ll definitely all be there. Bring presents, yes that’s a good one, bring presents. Bring ME presents!! Bring cake. Bring me some cake. And presents. get your friends we’ve done that.


Saturday 22nd December Bridgwater Art Centre 7pm (till we finish)

There’ll be a Quiz!!!!

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Bridgwater Selection Meetings Saturday 27th October

Tuesday, 23 October 2018Leave a reply
The campaign starts here

If you are a Labour Party Member and live in the six key Bridgwater Town wards of Hamp, Eastover,Westover, Fairfax, Dunwear or Victoria , then you are welcome to attend the Victoria Park Community Centre  this Saturday (27th October) to help interview and then vote for the Labour candidates that you would like to represent your area on Sedgemoor District Council in the 2019 elections.

The event will run from 9am and will finish by 1pm.

You will need to bring your Labour Party membership card.

Members from each ward, in the following order, will be able to have their say

0930 Hamp

1000 Eastover

1030 Westover

1100 Fairfax

1130 Dunwear

1200 Victoria

Labour on the march as hundreds of new members took part in the campaign

Labour councillors are currently in place for each of the seats (Hamp 2, Eastover 2, Westover 2, Fairfax 2, Dunwear 1, Victoria 1)  and therefore they are considered ‘winnable’ (in Party jargon). Some sitting councillors are asking to be-selected, some are standing down and some totally new candidates are putting their names forward.

This year there is the added incentive of getting more women candidates as we are running the first seat in each ward as a ‘women only shortlist’

If there are less than 6 Labour members from each ward present then the CLP Executive (Bridgwater area) will be asked to join the ones who are there to make the decision.

The  Exec (who will need to be there from 9am) are as follows

*Chair            Gary Tucker (BW)

*Secretary            Brian Smedley (BW)

*Vice Chair/Membership    Mick Lerry (BW)

*Treasurer            Tony Heywood (BW)

*Youth Officer        Gemma Shanahan (BW)

*Trade Union Liaison   Glen Burrows (BW)

Additional Executive Members;-

*Leigh Redman (BW)

*Karen Heyward (BW)

Bridgwater Branch Chair Gary Tucker says “The reason I re-joined the party was for Jeremy Corbyn’s vision to democratise the party and lead from the grassroots. This Saturday’s selections for Council candidates gives us an opportunity to put his vision into action. Here’s three reasons why should come to choose you candidates for the area you live in:

  1. Having a choice of who stands is healthy for democracy. We have sitting councillors in amongst the shortlist but we also have fresh faces. Surely, it is a good thing to have a choice of candidates- experience or new ideas or what about both??
  2. When it is raining and you are doing the hard work of delivering leaflets, you want a leader who inspires you to action in your ward! Having someone you chose who you want will make those miserable days a bit more bearable.
  3. You are part of the campaign from Day 1. Knowing who you chose, who you feel inspired by means you have someone to represent you but also someone who you can get to know better and feed into the process of campaigning and get your ideas into the campaign materials. Each Councillor candidate gets to form exactly WHAT we are campaigning on. Rather than have a campaign foisted on you, why not be part of it? A good starting point is choosing your candidate.

I hope these reasons have made you reconsider your plans for Saturday.You will be given full guidance. Come along and get involved! Are you coming? “

Labour Party Conference Report 2018

Sunday, 21 October 2018Leave a reply
gemma and JC
Gemma and JC – Bridgwater makes it’s mark

Bridgwater and West Somerset Labour Delegates Gemma Shanahan and Chelsea Chadwick attended Conference and have submitted this report.

Day 1- Women’s conference:

-Speakers-Jennie Formby

-Dawn Butler

-Jeremy Corbyn

-Motions-Women and the Economy-zero hour contracts, earning below the living wage, two child limit, universal credit

-Childcare-Cuts has caused closure of childcare services, having a child shouldn’t limit women’s economic power

-Abortion rights-Northern Ireland, wanted to make amendments to the Domestic Abuse bill, repealing ss. 58 and 59 of the offences against the people act 1861.

-Women’s health and safety- Period poverty (CWU’s big campaign). Special consideration for menopausal symptoms at work.

-Unfortunately we didn’t have a women delegate so we couldn’t vote but all motions were passed unanimously.

-The atmosphere was electric, it was just so incredible to see so many strong women in one room and so many sharing inspirational stories, everyone was so supportive of each other, and it was made so accessible for everyone with accessibility stewards and people signing the whole conference. Continue reading “Labour Party Conference Report 2018”

Calling Labour Women to step forward as Candidates

Wednesday, 10 October 2018Leave a reply

WOMENThis is an urgent call to women members in the Bridgwater area to please consider putting your name forward for selection for District Council next May (2019). It is important that we have women candidates because Party Rules say that in winnable seats the 1st seat must be chosen from an all women shortlist and, in truth, we don’t have a list of women enough to fill the seats.

There are 6 wards in Bridgwater described as ‘winnable’. In this order – Hamp, Eastover, Westover, Fairfax, Dunwear, Victoria. In all of these we have sitting councillors – but in fact only 1 of these sitting councillors who is wanting to stand again is female. In order to encourage more women, party rules say we have to guarantee the 1st seat in each ward to a woman….that’s 6 seats. So far we don’t even have 6 women on our shortlist.

However…there is still time….but not much…..Please read the process below and seriously and quickly consider if you (as a woman) would like to stand for District Council and in a winnable seat. Return this form or contact us by October 13th 0930am

To qualify you need to

  1. Be a Labour party member

         2. Live in the Sedgemoor area.

The procedure is slightly complex but I lay it out here

Electoral ward 1st selection 2nd selection  
Hamp H1 H2  
Eastover E1 E2  
Westover W1 W2  
Fairfax F1 F2 F3
Dunwear D1 D2  
Victoria V1 V2  


Selection process for district council candidates as agreed with Regional Office

This applies to WINNABLE seats identified as the 6 Labour wards in Bridgwater.

These are identified in priority order above

1 seat in each winnable seat MUST be contested by a woman

The 2nd (or 3rd) seat must be selected from ‘open’ selection (ie man or woman)

The LCF draws up a ‘panel of candidates for winnable seats’ (this is all people who have submitted an application form and specified any of the above seats)

The LCF agrees candidates from the list – these must include sitting ward councillors

Anyone with a query (lack of consistent membership, new candidate etc) must face an interview of an LCF panel

The LCF panel must submit their recommendations to regional office for approval

The ‘Panel of candidates for winnable seats’ are offered to a membership meeting (27th October) in ward order H,E,W,F,D,V

If a ward membership is less than 6 then the executive members are added to the selection team

  1. H1 has to be chosen from women who have specified Hamp
  2. If no women candidate wishes to contest this then we have to ‘re-advertise’ and set another date in order to try to get women to come forward.
  3. H2 is then selected from an open list of members who have been accepted onto the panel of candidates and have specified Hamp.
  4. The process is then repeated in the following order

-E1 (women only)

-E2 (open)

-W1 (women only)

-W2 (open)

-F1 (women only)

-F2 & F3 (open)

-D1 (women only)

-D2 (open)

-V1 (women only)

-V2 (open)

  1. All blank seats (unselected) must stand in abeyance until Regional Office either approves open selection or insists that we re-publicise the positive selection amongst women members in the hope to get more women candidates.

Clearly, to avoid delaying our process women members must now please come forward. Send the following form back to by Saturday 13th October.

Any questions please contact the Secretary Brian Smedley 07772402671 or by email as above

———————- cut and past the form below into an email and send it back to us———————-

I wish my name to go forward for consideration by the Local Campaign Forum for the panel of candidates for the 2019 Local Elections in Sedgemoor.

Which Authority do you wish to be considered for? (please ANSWER YES to  one or more below)


TOWN COUNCIL (Please specify)

PARISH COUNCIL (Please specify)




Ward in which you live  

Council experience
Labour Party Membership Number

Length of time as a Labour Party Member

Trades Union Membership
Any other relevant information



Please state your preferred WARD
Please list other Wards you wish to be considered for (‘any’ is also an acceptable answer)


“If elected I undertake to abide by the rules of the Labour Party and the standing orders of the District Labour Group “  Signed____________________________________                            

Labour Party Blues, Soul, Ska,Reggae, Motown Dance Night

Friday, 14 September 2018Leave a reply
Join our Party for a Party at Partysville Partyland


Friday 28th September 2018

Red Shadow Vinyl Sound System
£3 on the door

Organised by Bridgwater Branch Labour Party

Everyone is welcome to this event which will be a fundraiser for the Bridgwater Labour Party

Labour Party FAMILY FRIENDLY Barbecue Saturday 1st September

Wednesday, 29 August 2018Leave a reply

Everyone is welcome to join us at the Bridgwater home of Cllr Liz Leavy for an end of summer Labour Party fundraising ‘family friendly’ barbecue. Saturday 1st September.

6.p.m onwards till midnight. Tickets £5 each, children of school age and under go FREE.

Please bring a bottle   FOOD WILL BE PROVIDED, Carnivore, Vegan and Vegetarian friendly.

The event will be held at 101 Taunton Road, Bridgwater.

If good weather we will be in the garden, if not the event will be indoors.

You are welcome to just turn up but to get some idea of numbers please inform Maggy Layton via E mail.; by telephone 01278 652423; or by post 68 Estuary Park Combwich TA5 2RF.

Come along and support us and bring your friends and family.

Labour Launches Local Election Campaign for May 2019

Saturday, 18 August 2018Leave a reply
labour 3
The Red Flag  hoisted aloft in Bridgwater for the coming fight’

On May 2nd 2019 there will be local elections across the country at Town and District Council level. This includes all 5 Somerset Districts , plus all the Towns and Parishes.  Labour’s strongest local government representation in Somerset is in Sedgemoor where the Party is the main opposition with 10 Councillors and on Bridgwater Town Council which is Labour controlled by 14 seats to 2.

Bridgwater Town Council Labour Leader, Brian Smedley, was today elected as the Secretary of the newly established Local Campaign Forum which will select Labour candidates for the Sedgemoor wards, develop a Manifesto and co-ordinate the entire campaign in conjunction with the Branches of Bridgwater and North West Somerset. He put out a call for Labour candidates to now come forward. Continue reading “Labour Launches Local Election Campaign for May 2019”