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A view from the frontline: key seat campaigning by Jasmin Beckett

You don’t really appreciate a campaign until you live near a hugely marginal, key parliamentary seat a year away from a General Election.

On 5th & 6th April 2014 Young Labour groups, Labour Students and Young Fabians from across the country joined Wirral Young Labour in Esther McVey’s constituency Wirral West to do a whole weekend packed full of campaigning. Esther sits on a mere 6% majority and Labour’s candidate Margaret Greenwood is hoping to reclaim the seat in 2015. It was a fantastic weekend with a brilliant social in the evening and an exciting opportunity to meet members from up and down the country.

It is allowing us to plan innovative engagement opportunities and in August we are hoping to take winning Wirral West to another level. We are currently organising a ’31 Days for 2015’ campaignathon whereby we’re asking members to commit to at least 24 campaigning sessions in August with the aim of making 4,000 contacts. For this we will pay for a monthly, all areas travel pass for members so they can get across to these sessions and for those who do come to 24+ we’re going to buy their National Conference pass to ensure all members have the opportunity to go regardless of financial issues. There will also be socials and exciting events each week after sessions.

Living near a key seat has given us the chance to really claim some ownership of pursuing a Labour victory on our own doorstep. Even more so to use it as a way to get our members behind this important cause by holding socials, huge campaign days, offering to pay for travel and using it to help members experience conference whilst building a new membership by engaging the wider community.

A key seat provides an opportunity to recruit new members and 14 were signed up on the doorstep during the Upton by-election in Wirral West, by that example we now carry membership forms on every campaigning session because it really is the best way to engage.

I feel very lucky to be involved in Wirral Young Labour with such an exciting 11 months ahead of us. And I know we’re going to use the General Election to our advantage to engage more young people in politics and encourage them to use their vote. So it’s definitely the best time to get involved and see what’s going on!

Jasmin Beckett is a member of Wirral Young Labour. She tweets @JasminAmelia.

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