We all met in the cafeteria for the welcome and introduction, teas and coffee and then divided ourselves into our chosen groups depended on what issues we were interested in, which were as follows:

  • Brexit or Local Accountability in the National Education Service
  • Local Economic Development or Rebuilding a Just Social Security System
  • Democratic Public Ownership or Building an Effective Criminal Justice System
  • Rebuilding a Public NHS or Sustainable Food Policy

I selected Brexit, Local Economic Development, Building an Effective Criminal Justice System, and Sustainable Food Policy.

Ivor BlackmoreThanks to everyone who turned out to vote in the Devizes Town Council East Ward by-election on 21st February. Sadly, we were not successful and the Tories won with just under 25% of the vote. The vote was fairly evenly split and we shared fourth place with The Devizes Guardians, the party of the previous incumbent, whose resignation caused the by-election.

Despite the result, it was a great campaign. Over thirty members helped with canvassing and leaflet delivery, others were tellers at polling stations, so the silver lining is we now have an amazing team of activists. The hard slog on the streets was interspersed with the occasional coffee, pub grub and a lovely Italian meal on election night. It was my first experience of canvassing and my message is: if a natural introvert like me can do it (and enjoy it) anyone can. We received a lot of positive support on the doorstep, something on which we can build in future campaigns.

Finally, a shout out to Steve and Lauren, the owners of The Cavalier pub who kindly allowed us to use the pub as a base during the campaign, and who kept us fed and watered on election day.

Ivor Blackmore

working together

There are five Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) covering Wiltshire and we are working together to support constituents and prepare for local and general elections. Only three of the 98 seats on Wiltshire Council are held by Labour and the Lib Dems are currently the official opposition to the Tories. We want to change this.

In October representative from Devizes, Chippenham, South West Wilts, Salisbury and North Wilts CLPs met to discuss local priorities and plan an agenda for joint campaigning on social care, policing, housing and education.

One of our Labour Councillors, Ricky Rogers, explained that Wiltshire Council is facing a £25M cut in its Revenue Support Grant from central government this year and more redundancies are on the way. Describing Wiltshire Council to the group he said, “It has gone from being a council that provided services to one that commissions them, continuing the dogma of privatisation. There is now a lack of capacity within the officers.”

For Labour to have a bigger influence we need more Labour Councillors and it is essential that we get our candidates for local elections in place early to start campaigning with Ricky and his colleagues. This countywide Labour strategy group will now meet quarterly with the next meeting planned for January.

If you are interested in standing as a Labour Councillor for election to Wiltshire Council let us know and we will get some training organised for you.

Campaigning in DevizesDevizes Labour Party is busy campaigning and canvassing support across the constituency. 

We want to find out what issues (local and national) people are concerned about, and how your local Labour party can lead real change in our constituency.

We have had a lot of fun out and about in Devizes, Marlborough and Tidworth canvassing residents' views on what Labour should focus on, as well as running several street stalls in town centres. We will continue canvassing and having these  "community conversations" over the coming months.

Local issues raised have included problems with roadworks, a reduction in medical facilities, a worry about homelessness and lack of housing for young people. Wider concerns include closure of several education facilities and a deep concern 're the way Brexit is going and how it is dividing our country.

We have already taken up some specific residents' issues with local Councillors and will be building all of these issues and concerns into our local Manifesto for Devizes constituency which will form Labour's vision for our community.

If you want to find out more please get in touch or head over to our Labour Facebook Group  for more info about our canvassing and campaigning.
Updates for all of our events can be found on Campaign Bulletin

Devizes Labour Party members honour long- standing party member, Colin Hopgood

Colin Hopgood

Many Labour Party Members and former Mayors attended the funeral of Colin Hopgood on Monday October 8 at Semington Crematorium. 
Colin was an active member of Devizes Labour Party over many decades. He was presented with a long service award from the Labour Party ten years ago. He served as a Labour Councillor on Devizes Town Council, where he also served as Mayor from 1996-1997, and on the former Kennet District Council. In every public role, he always led with great integrity true to his values of community and fairness.
As a family man and foster parent of more than 70 children and milk delivery roundsman he was a well loved and respected member of the community.
Despite his illness, Colin still attended local party meetings. Unfortunately, he was too ill to attend the Devizes Constituency AGM on 4 July. However, his friend and former Devizes Town Councillor, Tony Free, read out a very moving and inspiring message from Colin.