PES member parties discuss election strategies at UK Labour conference

26/09/2017

Meeting at conference

Representatives from a number of progressive and socialist parties across Europe met at the UK Labour party conference as part of the PES Taskforce Elections to discuss and develop electoral strategies.

The session in Brighton was co-hosted by UK Labour party Secretary General Iain McNicoll and the Party of European Socialists, and focused on sharing best practice in the areas of strategy, messaging, policy agenda, using social media, and mobilising party members.

As part of the event, Labour representatives debriefed on the recent UK general election, and representatives of other PES member parties (among others Denmark, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands) also shared experiences and advice. The meeting kicked off with a keynote speech by John Crombez, leader of the Belgian sp.a.

PES has also been active on the fringes of Labour's annual conference, co-hosting a debate on Sunday with the Labour Movement for Europe which attracted more than 500 attendees.

And Deputy Secretary General Marije Laffeber also spoke on Brexit in another packed meeting attended by 400 people. She spoke alongside Labour's Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Brexit; Brendan Howlin, leader of the Irish Labour party; Dame Glenis Willmott MEP; and Iratxe Garcia MEP, EU Secretary of PSOE Spain.

The panel discussed future perspectives in the run-up to the Brexit, highlighting the need of a 'jobs-first Brexit', the protection of workers' rights, maintaining social and environmental standards -- and to put people first.

Ms Laffeber said:

"The Labour party annual conference in the UK is one of the world's biggest political gatherings. PES and our member parties have been active throughout, taking part in policy debates and adding perspectives from other European countries, because we believe we can only become stronger as a political family through intensive cooperation and exchange with our member parties.

"Today's electoral strategy session facilitates best practice for many of our member parties from around the EU, plus guests from further afield. Now more than ever, we need to help each other to face our common challenges."

Among the PES leaders and experts addressing the training workshop for member parties were:

  • John Crombez, leader of sp.a Belgium
  • Jan Juul Christensen, secretary-general of SD Denmark
  • Kirsten Meijer, international secretary of PvdA Netherlands
  • Kenneth Forslund, MP from SAP Sweden
  • Iratxe Garcia Perez MEP, EU Secretary of PSOE Spain and member of the PES presidency

UK Labour representatives included:

  • Niall Sookoo, Strategic Communications Manager
  • Simon Jackson, Director of Policy & Research
  • Andrew Fisher, Executive Director Policy
  • Tim Waters, Head of Contact Creator
  • Tom Lavell, Head of Digital Campaigns
  • Ben Nolan, Director of Member Mobilisation & Communication