On 7th May the people of this country went to the ballot box and delivered a clear success for the Conservatives. This result was mirrored here in Dartford. To everyone that cast their vote for Labour; thank you. We are sorry that we were unable to deliver the result you wanted.
In the run up to the election we spoke to over 7,000 local people on the doorstep. Our parliamentary candidate Simon Thomson fought a passionate, positive and engaging campaign. There is no doubt that many people wanted to see change in our town and our country. However, more people chose the Conservatives over Labour to deliver it.
Later this month the newly elected council in Dartford will begin a new term. The Council will have tough choices to make. Be they on how we continue to fund our services in the face of unprecedented cuts, to reversing the decline of our Town Centre or how we deal with our Borough’s shameful level of child poverty. Where we can, we will seek to support the Council but we will also scrutinise and oppose if we feel the choices being made are not in the best interests of our community. Both before and during the campaign, promises were made to the people of Dartford and Labour will hold the administration to account if they do not make good on those commitments.
In those early hours of Friday morning Dartford lost some dedicated and hard-working Labour councillors and to them we give our profound thanks. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Geoff Prout, who has led the Labour Group in Dartford which such dedication and distinction. Geoff worked harder than anyone to build a better and fairer community and his contribution to our town cannot be understated. Councillors Catherine Stafford, Steve Doran and Dave Baker served their communities with dedication, passion and commitment. They can all be proud of their time as Labour Councillors and we hope that they will return in the future.
Although the result of the election was a disappointment, there are many reasons to be hopeful. The campaign reinvigorated our activists and also inspired a new generation of supporters. In many places we fielded a new generation of council candidates who fought fantastic local campaigns. We have seen an increase in our membership and more people than ever decided to play an active part in our movement.
Our party will never stop working for social justice, fairness and prosperity. Our challenge now is to make sure that Labour is seen as a force for those values in Dartford and in the country. To rise to that challenge we will need to do things differently. There are changes that we will need to make. However, we have risen to the task before and we will do it again. A strong Labour party, rooted in our local communities, can be a force for good in Dartford. We start work today.