Normally when we do a Labour Party stall for my branch, we get on average half a dozen people over an hour or two. If we have a petition, and do well, we might get a hundred signatures.
We had a stall on Saturday 23 January in support of the junior doctors, for about two and half hours. We had on average 20 people there, about 30 involved in total. We got 700 signatures! Our local Tory MP [Broxtowe is a marginal seat], cabinet minister Anna Soubry, refused to meet a delegation in advance that would have been led by one of our doctors.
Soubry initially wrote that she believed the Labour Party was behind the petitioning and delegation and it wasn’t “normal” to meet Labour Party constituents. When she was emailed, she said it was a stunt – although she did say she would meet on another occasion with our delegation. Let’s see! Our Labour Party has now built a very good relationship with local junior doctors. Some in the local Labour left, even, have argued that mobilising the party in support of the doctors was not the right focus. I think this shows how wrong they were! I hope other local Labour Parties will try to do the same sort of thing.
• For a Momentum NHS model motion on how local Labour Parties can support the doctors’ dispute and the wider fight to save the NHS, see here.