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.

2015 Elections - Dartford Labour Statement

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... Read more

May 7th was a disappointment for many in Dartford. Clearly we have much to do over the next five years. Well done Simon Thomson for an inspiring campaign, and to our 7 local councillors who will be keeping the flame alive. Commiserations to unsuccessful candidates. Most of all, thanks to over 13000 people who voted Labour.

Labour held on to its core vote; but failed to break through; in the process losing Council seats won in by-elections since 2011. We're particularly sad to lose Labour leader Geoff Prout from Princes ward; and Simon Thomson would have been an outstanding MP.

Here's the parliamentary result, from the council website:

Dartford - results
Election Candidate Party Votes %  
 Gareth Alan Johnson The Conservative Party Candidate 25670 48.97% Elected
 Simon Tobias Thomson Labour Party 13325 25.42% Not elected
 Elizabeth Eirwen Jones UK Independence Party (UKIP) 10434 19.91% Not elected
 Simon James Beard Liberal Democrats 1454 2.77% Not elected
 Andrew Danny Blatchford Green Party 1324 2.53% Not elected
 Steven Thomas Uncles English Democrats - "Putting England First!" 211 0.40% Not elected

 Labour councillors are now:

Tom Maddison

Daisy Page 

Bachchu Kaini

Mark Maddison

Pat Kelly

Josh Jones

Jonathon Hawkes.

Elections

May 7th was a disappointment for many in Dartford. Clearly we have much to do over the next five years. Well done Simon Thomson for an inspiring campaign, and to our 7 local councillors who will be keeping the flame... Read more

Simon Thomson, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Dartford met with Southeastern's MD David Statham yesterday - as part of an event organised by Dartford Rail Travellers Association.

simon-dfd-station.jpgSimon said “It was a useful meeting and I was keen to raise the issues many long suffering Dartford commuters have raised with me – particularly the cramped conditions on trains and the shortage of carriages. It’s clear that as a result of the Conservatives failure to invest in our railways, Southeastern simply doesn't have enough rolling stock. If elected the MP for Dartford I will work with the DfT to support Southeastern's request for more rolling stock.

We need more 12-car train services through Dartford to get our increasing number of commuters to work and to get Dartford moving again.

I also raised the issue of poor communication and the lack of information provided when there are problems. I’m clear that it’s not the fault of the front line staff who do their best in difficult circumstances. I believe more support needs to be provided by Southeastern management so that staff can keep passengers informed. I was pleased to hear that Southeastern are investing how this can be improved – I’ll be keeping a close eye on progress.

Dartford needs a MP that is going to stand up for commuters and raise the issues that matter to you. If you choose me as your MP on May 7th, that’s exactly what I’ll do.”

TRANSPORT

Tue 21 April, 2015

Meeting with Southeastern's MD David Statham

Simon Thomson, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Dartford met with Southeastern's MD David Statham yesterday - as part of an event organised by Dartford Rail Travellers Association. Read more

The Labour Party in Dartford today launch their manifesto for the local elections on May 7th. The manifesto – “Changing Dartford Together” sets out Labour’s new plan for Dartford following twelve years of Conservative rule in our town that has seen the town centre fall into decline, new affordable housing stalled and the local economy neglected.

The manifesto is headlined by six key commitments that a Labour Council in Dartford will deliver to make our borough a more ambitious, more prosperous and fairer place to live for everyone.

If elected on May 7th, a Labour Council will:

Put Pride Back In Our Town Centre – Labour will take steps to attract new businesses and put pride back into Dartford by investing in the appearance of the town centre.

Rebuild Lowfield Street – Labour will say goodbye to Tesco and set out a new vision for the future. A new Lowfield Street can be a centre for housing, new community hubs and a revitilised night time economy.

Tackle Dartford’s Housing Crisis – Labour will deliver a minimum of 200 new socially rented homes – more than the Conservatives delivered in twelve years-  and work to deliver more affordable housing and stand up for private renters.

Clean Up Dartford – Taking Action on Litter- Labour will launch a new plan to clean up Dartford and introduce stricter enforcement against those who litter and engage in fly tipping.

Protect the Weekly Waste Collection – Labour will raise recycling rates while protecting the weekly waste collection. Unlike the Conservatives, Labour will not ask residents to choose between good services and protecting the environment – we’ll do both.

Put Working People First – Dartford only succeeds when working people succeed. Labour will invest in jobs and the local economy.

The manifesto can be read in full by visiting www.dartfordlabourparty.org.uk/2015

Geoff Prout, Leader of the Labour Group said

Although Dartford is in many ways a success story, it is not equally so for all. Many feel that they are missing out on the opportunities and wealth that others take for granted.

Dartford Labour understands that many people are facing huge challenges, and need the council to take a proactive role in sharing our prosperity more fairly. That’s what a Labour Council in Dartford will do”

Jonathon Hawkes, Labour Councillor in Stone said 

“The Conservatives have failed our town centre and failed local residents. Dartford needs a new start. Local people have told us their priorities – a better town centre, action on litter and more affordable housing. Labour has listened to residents and that’s why on May 7th we’ll be changing Dartford together.”

ENDS 

Geoff Prout is Shadow Leader of Dartford Borough Council. He can be contacted for further comment on 07944 680864
Jonathon Hawkes is Labour Councillor for Stone and can be contacted for further comment on 07917 696820
“Changing Dartford Together” is Dartford Labour’s manifesto for the local government elections to be held on Thursday 7th May 2015.

Mon 06 April, 2015

Changing Dartford Together - Labour Launch Manifesto for the Local Elections

The Labour Party in Dartford today launch their manifesto for the local elections on May 7th. The manifesto – “Changing Dartford Together” sets out Labour’s new plan for Dartford following twelve years of Conservative rule in our town that has seen the... Read more

Dartford only succeeds when working people succeed - that's Labour's message for the General Election.

Over the last year I’ve spent a lot of time knocking on doors in Dartford listening to people and their concerns. I’ve seen first hand that many local people are still struggling to make ends meet. I’ve also seen they’ve not given up on hoping for a change.

We need real change in Dartford and real change in our politics. We need to take action on the cost of living crisis. It cannot be right that under the Conservatives the rich are getting richer while we all pay more in taxes. It cannot be right that the Tory top down re-organisation of the NHS has meant that nurses and doctors are struggling with ever increasing workloads and lack of support. It cannot be right that after 5 years of a Conservative led government, the next generation is faced with being worse off than their parents. I think it is time for change and a better plan.

Dartford needs a better deal. Last week, Labour announced five pledges that are at the heart of our plan for a better future. It’s based on a simple idea: that Britain only succeeds when working people succeed. That’s as true in Dartford as it is in the rest of the county. The five pledges set out a clear vision about what type of society Labour wants to create - a fairer, more equal, more prosperous society.

· A strong economic foundation: Labour will balance the books and cut the deficit every year while securing the future of the NHS.

· Higher living standards for working families: Labour will freeze energy bills until 2017 and give the regulator the power to cut bills this winter, ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, raise the minimum wage to £8 and provide 25 hours free childcare a week.

· An NHS with time to care: 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs. Labour will join up services from home to hospital, guaranteeing GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week.

· Controls on immigration: People who come here won’t be able to claim benefits for at least two years and Labour will introduce fair rules making it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers.

· A country where the next generation can do better than the last: Labour will reduce tuition fees to £6,000, and guarantee an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades, and deliver smaller class sizes for 5, 6 & 7 year-olds.

As your MP, I’ll work hard every day to help restore pride in Dartford and make sure that everyone benefits from our town's revival.


Simon Thomson


Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford


Tue 17 March, 2015

Labour's plan for Dartford

Dartford only succeeds when working people succeed - that's Labour's message for the General Election. Read more

As some people are already aware, I will, reluctantly, not be seeking re-election as councillor for Joyce Green Ward at the next election.

It’s been an honour and a privilege to serve the ward, and the Borough, for the last thirteen years. I hope I’ve done both justice. Over the time I’ve been lucky enough to work with and for many local residents who are committed to improving their community, as well as those who’ve had their fair share of problems.

I wanted to explain, in my own words, why I’m not carrying on after May.
 
Balancing the life of a councillor with a busy work life is sometimes a near-impossible task, and I continue to be in awe of the many councillors who do it successfully. Add a new family into that equation, and, in all good conscience, and despite the enormous support I’ve had from them, something has to give. Obviously it can’t be my family, and whilst I’m lucky to have a job I enjoy, it’s also necessary to pay the bills. Which sadly leaves only one option.
 
I continue to be passionate about the Labour Party, both in terms of its values and its people.

Growing up within the local party, I have come to view it as an extended family, with all the positive things that come with that. Nevertheless, the fact remains that my own new family does, and will always, come first.

I also remain passionate about Dartford, a town I am proud to call home, and one which my wife and I have chosen to lay our own roots.
 
It’s certainly not goodbye to the Council forever, and I hope to represent the party and the community again at some point in the future.
 
I am genuinely sorry to be leaving, and will miss my colleagues and my constituents tremendously.

But my departure is made a great deal easier by the fact that we have two fantastic, dedicated, hard-working candidates for Joyce Green in Mark Maddison and Bachchu Kailesh Kaini, who have already spoken with many local residents and are listening to the problems they face. Problems like the regular tailbacks on the A206 which cause misery for residents on The Bridge; or the lack of affordable housing, forcing many residents on Temple Hill to live in cramped conditions.

I know that they will make brilliant councillors and will continue to stand up for people in our ward.

I’d like to thank the leader of the Labour Group, Geoff Prout, for his advice and encouragement over the years. And I’ve been fortunate to serve on the Council alongside my mum, who together with my dad, have been a huge source of inspiration and support.

I’d also like to express my gratitude to the other councillors for Temple Hill for their support – Tom Maddison, Daisy Page, and in particular my ward colleague for the past 13 years, Ann Muckle.

Ann doesn’t always get the recognition she deserves, but seeing at close hand how hard she works to support people who come to her with problems, she’s an example to us all. Ann is also standing down in May, having been doing this far longer than I, and we all wish her a long and peaceful retirement.

And finally, I’d like to pay tribute to another long-serving councillor for Temple Hill, John Muckle, who we sadly lost last year. John was Ann’s husband, and the two of them made a formidable double act.

We all miss John tremendously, not just as a friend, but as someone who delivered positive change for Dartford. He helped build homes for families, he created jobs, he changed the way people and businesses thought of our Borough. He helped build the foundation for a prosperous, vibrant town, and it’s a legacy all future leaders have a duty to uphold.

And, whilst my role on the council is coming to an end, I’ll still be a Dartford resident, watching with great interest as the next era in this town’s history takes shape.

Obviously I hope that will be under a Labour council, but whatever happens in May, I wish everyone who is elected well, and hope that they feel the same pride I have had in representing this great Borough.

Matt Bryant
February 2015


Sun 15 February, 2015

Statement from Cllr Matt Bryant

As some people are already aware, I will, reluctantly, not be seeking re-election as councillor for Joyce Green Ward at the next election. Read more

Increasing numbers of people in the Dartford area are struggling with debt and are only just able to meet their living costs, according to new figures released by StepChange, a Debt Charity. The figures are released as part of the charity’s Debt Awareness Week. 

During 2014, the charity’s helpline was contacted by 1476 people from the Dartford postcode area. Those contacting the charity’s helpline on average owed £12,970 in unsecured debt such as credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts and they only had £36 left each month after paying their debts and household bills.


Mike O’Connor, chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity said:


“More and more families in the Dartford area are falling into debt and struggling to make ends meet. For those living on the edge of their financial means, taking control of the situation can seem a daunting, if not impossible, prospect, but taking positive steps towards tackling debt is crucial to getting back on your feet. We urge those who are worried about their debt problems to seek free confidential advice as soon as possible."


Simon Thomson, Parliamentary Labour Candidate for Dartford said:


“StepChange provide vital support for people in Dartford struggling with debt. This a problem that has got worse in the last four years and shows that too often the economy is just not working for local people.”


“Working people are £1600 worse off under the Conservatives and these figures highlight what many people have told me on the doorstep - far too often it’s still a struggle to make end meet. Dartford needs a pay rise and real help with the cost of living. That’s why a Labour government would deliver a fairer economy by raising the minimum wage to £8 an hour, freeze energy bills until 2017 and create more jobs, including a jobs guarantee for young people out of work."


Ends

Notes for Editors:
Figures from StepChange Debt Charity, based on helpline calls in 2014.
Simon Thomson is the Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford. He can be contacted for further comment on 07941 679353
FAMILIES
ECONOMY

Fri 06 February, 2015 - 2 reactions

Debt On The Rise In Dartford

Increasing numbers of people in the Dartford area are struggling with debt and are only just able to meet their living costs, according to new figures released by StepChange, a Debt Charity. The figures are released as part of the... Read more

"The news that Tesco have today announced they will now not be building a store in Lowfield Street will surprise few people in Dartford. The saga of Lowfield Street has been a well documented story of delay, frustration and a failure to deliver for local people.

The Conservative Council chose to ignore our warnings not to gamble the future of our town centre on the fortunes on a supermarket. There can now be little doubt that local business owners and residents have been badly let down by both the actions of Tesco and the council’s misjudgement and failure to manage the project effectively. Both owe Dartford a huge apology for how this has been handled over the last few years.

Labour have repeatedly asked the council what their ‘Plan B’ was should Tesco pull out. That day has now arrived, but residents are no closer to understanding what the intentions of Tesco or the council now are. Residents should be kept informed and that’s why Labour is today requesting that the Mayor convene an emergency council debate so that everyone is able to hear how we will work together to move forward from here.

What’s important now is that we are able to rescue something from this sorry state of affairs.

Labour will be offering its full support and co-operation to the council in order to find a new solution for Lowfield Street that puts the needs of our community before short term private profit. We should never accept that the interests of a supermarket should come before what’s best for our town and we need to keep up the pressure on Tesco to use the Lowfield Street site in a way that will benefit Dartford. We also desperately need legislation to stop developers sitting on land and inflicting such huge damage on our communities.

Ultimately, we can only achieve a better future of our town centre with the involvement of residents – their voice needs to be heard. Labour are committed to working directly with local people, businesses, council officers and developers to create a new vision for our town.

This has been a hugely frustrating experience for everyone in Dartford and the boarded up properties on Lowfield Street demonstrate the price of Tesco and the Council’s failure. 2015 can be the year when Dartford makes a fresh start. Together, we can all make it happen."


Cllr Geoff Prout – Leader, Labour Group
Shadow Leader of Dartford Borough Council

TOWN CENTRE

Thu 08 January, 2015 - 1 reaction

Lowfield Street Statement – Dartford Labour Group

"The news that Tesco have today announced they will now not be building a store in Lowfield Street will surprise few people in Dartford. The saga of Lowfield Street has been a well documented story of delay, frustration and a... Read more

Today's confirmation that Tesco has finally dropped plans to build a super-store in Dartford town centre hardly comes as a surprise. Anyone who walks past the boarded up shops in Lowfield Street or has read the company's annual report will realise that.

The Tory council in Dartford has overseen this sorry saga for twelve long years. And the Tory MP has done nothing over the last five years to find a resolution and come up with alternative plans. They've failed Dartford and have left the town centre to rot. It was foolish to solely rely on a supermarket to regenerate Dartford, without a plan B.

But we don't have to watch our town centre die. We need a new vision and fresh start for Dartford.

We need local politicians who have the confidence to stand up to developers, and tell them what our town needs, not the other way around. That's why a Labour government would give local councils the power to tell developers to "use it or lose it" -- to build or give back the land.

Many small businesses complain that they're struggling because Dartford council is always putting their costs up. Labour would cancel the government's hike in small business rates due this year and freeze the rate in 2016.

If elected Darford's MP in May, I would support initiatives to create an alternative shopping space by helping independent traders, new start ups and young entrepreneurs to open premises. For example, we could be offering them rate free premises for the first couple of years - isn't it better to see shops occupied than empty or boarded up?

Other towns have turned themselves around. So can Dartford. It just takes vision, a "can do" attitude and a fresh start.

TOWN CENTRE

Thu 08 January, 2015

Lowfield Street - Simon Thomson

Today's confirmation that Tesco has finally dropped plans to build a super-store in Dartford town centre hardly comes as a surprise. Anyone who walks past the boarded up shops in Lowfield Street or has read the company's annual report will... Read more

On a rainy November day, Littlebrook returned Daisy Page as its new councillor, while Mark Maddison increased the Labour share of the vote in Brent.

That being said, there was little enthusiasm for an election from the public, with low turnouts in both wards. And UKIP fared worse than they expected.

Littlebrook
Lab      358    47.7%

UKIP    220    29.3%

Cons    172    22.9%

Turnout 23.24%

Brent
Cons    579    44.6%

Lab      402    30.9%

UKIP    316    24.3%

Turnout 25.8%


Geoff Prout, Labour group leader, commented:
"Congratulations to Daisy on her election as Labour's new councillor. Commiserations to Mark who fought a great campaign and who will surely win a seat next May.
"Thanks to all  voters whotruned out, and to Labour's campaign team for all the hard work undertaken over the last few weeks. "


Sat 15 November, 2014

Labour councillor for Littlebrook

On a rainy November day, Littlebrook returned Daisy Page as its new councillor, while Mark Maddison increased the Labour share of the vote in Brent. Read more

Labour's campaign teams, led by Simon Thomson, Daisy Page, and Mark Maddison, have been working hard. Between them they have talked to over 60% of voters in Littlebrook and Brent before today's by-elections.

The message from residents is clear - they have talked to us about their dismay at the Town Centre, and the difficulties of getting round and parking with the tunnel chaos.  They have talked to us about the cost of living, of the problems faced by the Health Service, of the targeting of those most vulnerable: disabled people, people with mental illness, people without adequate housing.

Support for Labour is growing again; and it's clear that Dartford people, whether in Brent or Littlebrook, are resisting the narrow, inward-looking, and strident messages coming from right-wing parties.

The final verdict comes in the ballot box. Simon Thomson, Labour's candidate for Parliament, commented "Let's get behind Daisy and Mark, and get two more sensible and informed councillors for Dartford."


Thu 13 November, 2014

Growing support for Labour

Labour's campaign teams, led by Simon Thomson, Daisy Page, and Mark Maddison, have been working hard. Between them they have talked to over 60% of voters in Littlebrook and Brent before today's by-elections. Read more

Today, former Dartford Councillor and Labour MP for Corby, Andy Sawford introduced a bill to parliament that would allow public and mutual rail operators to bid for rail franchises and I was happy to see it progress to a second reading.

Currently the Conservative led government bans anyone but private operators bidding for franchises. This perverse rule has resulted in the not-for-profit public operator currently running the East Coast line - which has achieved record passenger satisfaction and service levels, invests it’s profits in better services and has returned over £800m to the taxpayer - being prevented from continuing to provide that service in order to allow a private operator to take over.

Andy’s bill is important for rail passengers here in Dartford. We continue to put up with the failing performance of the Southeastern franchise – consistently ranked as one of the country's poorest train operators. Expensive fares, delays and cancellations and poor customer satisfaction have contributed to years of frustration for passengers.

We shouldn’t have to put up with it. However, instead of holding Southeastern to account, Dartford’s MP Gareth Johnson and his Conservative colleagues decided to reward them with a new contract – meaning Dartford is stuck with Southeastern until 2018. Dartford deserves better than an MP that puts the interests of train bosses before passengers.

We need a real fresh start. We need a railway which puts passengers first, not profits. That’s why I support Andy Sawford’s bill and why today Labour MPs delivered more for Dartford’s rail users in a single day than our own Conservative MP – who didn’t vote today - has achieved in four years. If elected Dartford’s MP next year, I’ll join them to work to for the rail service that Dartford and the country needs and deserves.

TRANSPORT

Wed 29 October, 2014

Labour stands up for Rail Passengers in Parliament

Today, former Dartford Councillor and Labour MP for Corby, Andy Sawford introduced a bill to parliament that would allow public and mutual rail operators to bid for rail franchises and I was happy to see it progress to a second... Read more

General Secretary of the GMB



Friday 28th November 2014

7.30pm at Darenth Village Hall

Ladywood Road

DA2 7LL 



Bring your own drinks and nibbles

Members, supporters and friends are invited to the all members' night on Friday 28th November at 7.30pm in Darenth Village Hall.

Click here for a map.


Our guest speaker will be Paul Kenny, the General Secretary of the GMB. We are delighted that Paul, who is one of the leading figures in the Labour movement, is able to come and speak at this event.



There will the customary raffle and the 100 club draw.

Members and guests are invited to make a voluntary donation of £5.00 in aid of Labour's 2015 election campaign in Dartford. 

This promises to be an excellent evening in the company of the leader of Britain's third biggest trade union.




Pat Kelly

CLP Secretary


Mon 27 October, 2014

Dartford Labour Party welcomes Paul Kenny

General Secretary of the GMB 

Friday 28th November 2014 7.30pm at Darenth Village Hall Read more

Thursday 11th December at the Swanscombe Pavilion at 7.30pm


The Grove,
Swanscombe,
DA10 0AD


Click here for a map

On Thursday 11th December there will be a 'Stand up for Labour' comedy night at the Swanscombe Pavilion beginning at 7.30pm. There will be a full bar and the acts will feature Arthur Smith, Norman Lovett and Mary Bourke: 



Tickets are on sale and at the moment, they only cost £10 but the price will go up to £12 after October 31st. Tickets are available to everyone - members, friends, family, neighbours etc so first come, first served. They can be reserved through Santha on 01322 525261. However you get the tickets, please make sure you pay for them before October 31st!

Tickets can also be bought online at the Stand Up For Labour website



Stand up for Labour promises to be an excellent night of comedy so please book early to avoid disappointment. 







Pat Kelly

CLP Secretary

ARTHUR SMITH

A huge laugh and a career that blends surrealism and one-liners in equal measure are Arthur Smith's signatures. His immense humour, and willingness to laugh himself hoarse at others' jokes make him unusual in an industry eaten up by cool. On TV, he's been a regular Grumpy Old Man. But it's as a stage performer and writer where Smith's strongest talents make themselves felt.

NORMAN LOVETT

He was well into his thirties before deciding to go into comedy. Best known for the role of Holly in cult sci-fi sitcom Red Dwarf, he considers himself to be a stand-up comedian who can act a bit, and is yet to appear in a pantomime. His comedy has a quiet, dead-pan surrealism.

MARY BOURKE

 

She's performed on the comedy circuit for more than a dozen years and the experience shows. Bourke's utterly composed on stage, performing with a relaxed delivery, and the soft sing-song of her Irish lilt contrasts nicely with her punchy and somewhat acerbic material. She punctuates the pomposity of the Mumsnet website with list of unreasonable demands on the Albanian nanny with the refrain 'am I being unreasonable?'

 


Mon 27 October, 2014

Stand Up For Labour Comedy Night

Thursday 11th December at the Swanscombe Pavilion at 7.30pm
 The Grove,Swanscombe, DA10 0AD Read more

Friday’s traffic gridlock across Dartford was another reminder that the delay in naming the location of a new Thames Crossing is damaging our town. Labour in Dartford have always said that any new crossing needs to be built away from Dartford and we’ve campaigned strongly alongside residents to make the case to rule Dartford out now.

It’s extraordinary that in response to the recent traffic chaos, a local Conservative Councillor has now called for a new crossing to be built at Dartford. We don’t agree with his view and we think the vast majority of Dartford residents won’t agree either.

Building another crossing at Dartford is not the right solution to our traffic problems. It would just make the exisiting congestion and pollution even worse. 

This was an issue where we felt we had achieved a degree of political consensus to keep another crossing away from Dartford – however, in recent months the position of the Conservatives appears to have changed. First, we had Dartford’s Conservative MP calling for the decision to be delayed - keeping the threat hanging over the town. Now we have the Conservative Mayor of London and at least one local Tory Councillor openly calling for another crossing at Dartford. We’ve got a big fight to win to make sure we keep the new crossing out of Dartford. The uncertain position of the Conservatives does nothing to help residents and businesses in Dartford caught in the gridlock.

The government can and should rule Dartford out now and get on with resolving this issue. Labour in Dartford will continue to stand up for residents and say no to another crossing in our town.

TRANSPORT

Mon 27 October, 2014 - 1 reaction

We need a decision on a new crossing - not more Conservative confusion

Friday’s traffic gridlock across Dartford was another reminder that the delay in naming the location of a new Thames Crossing is damaging our town. Labour in Dartford have always said that any new crossing needs to be built away from... Read more

THE CONSERVATIVES HAVE FAILED OUR TOWN CENTRE

Yesterday’s press statement released by the Leader of Dartford Borough Council demonstrates the astonishing failure of Dartford’s Conservative administration to deliver on its promises to regenerate Lowfield Street and our town centre.

We all recognise that Tesco have let Dartford down badly. However, there can be little doubt that the Conservatives have been complicit in the twelve years of delays and excuses that have left Dartford with a decaying town centre and a derelict site scarring the landscape of Lowfield Street.

  • It was the Conservatives who stubbornly pursued their road through the park scheme – delaying progress on the Lowfield St site for years
  • It was the Conservatives who failed to deliver a credible plan for regeneration –instead trusting the future of the town centre to the fortunes of a supermarket
  • It was the Conservatives who have refused to consider a Plan B – even when it became clear that Tesco were not delivering on their promises.

What we need now is action and a plan for the future – not empty words and idle threats.

It is nothing short of astonishing that the council leader now sees fit to announce a lack of faith in Tesco when as recently as August he told residents that he and Tesco had “cleared the last hurdle” to the development starting. We can only speculate as to what has provoked his sudden change of heart, especially since there today appears to be an increase in activity on Lowfield St. Did the Council know this work was due to be carried out?

What we do know is that Labour has consistently challenged the Conservatives to get tough on Tesco and be clear with residents on the plans for the town centre. His sudden conversion, seven months away from an election, to the view shared by Labour and many residents will not do anything to restore trust in the ability of the Conservatives to show the leadership the town needs.

The Conservatives have failed to influence the management of Tesco, failed to prepare a plan B and failed to deliver a long term strategy for regenerating our town centre. They’ve also failed to listen to the people of Dartford. We desperately need a different approach.

Dartford needs to move on from this sorry episode. Labour have sought the views of residents in Dartford and the results of our recent town centre survey show that residents have huge hopes and ambitions for our town, despite their despair at the way the Conservatives have neglected it over the last decade.

A Labour Council will deliver what the Conservatives have refused to do- a plan that recognises that our town centre can only thrive again with the community at its heart. Labour will put residents on the Town Team and ensure we have a plan for rejuvenating the town centre that includes the voice of everyone in Dartford – Business, residents, charities and our artistic and volunteer communities.

A Labour government will empower councils to tell big developers to ‘Use it or lose it”, preventing them sitting on land without building.

The Conservatives cannot build a better future for our town centre as they have no strategy, no alternative to Tesco and no trust from the people of Dartford. A decade ago, it was Labour, working with the community, who made the Conservatives see common sense and abandon their disastrous road through the park scheme. A decade later, confronted with a stubborn Tory council without a strategy and a completely silent MP it will again be Labour who will work with residents to build a better future for our town. We can’t go on like this and we need change.

We are determined to help our community realise its ambitions for our town and determined to work alongside our residents, businesses and community groups to rebuild and repair the pride in our town centre that has been so badly damaged by this sorry episode. Dartford can be so much better than this – together we will make it happen.

 

Geoff Prout – Leader, Labour Group and Shadow Leader of Dartford Borough Council

 Simon Thomson – Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford

TOWN CENTRE

Tue 14 October, 2014 - 2 reactions

Lowfield Street Statement

THE CONSERVATIVES HAVE FAILED OUR TOWN CENTRE Read more

There has been a very good response to Dartford Labour Party's Town Centre survey, with some clear threads developing.
The launch of the survey was delayed as a sign of respect following the tragic death of Councillor John Muckle.
It has therefore been decided to extend the closing date until the end of September.

Click here to access the online survey


Thu 18 September, 2014

Town Centre Survey update

There has been a very good response to Dartford Labour Party's Town Centre survey, with some clear threads developing. Read more

Labour party members and supporters received the following sad email from Cllr Pat Kelly today:

Dear Colleagues,

It is my sad duty to inform you that John Muckle died peacefully at home this morning. John was with his family as he had wished. John was a devoted servant to Dartford and to the Labour Party and he will be sadly missed. At this sad time our thoughts and prayers are with Ann, Tony and the rest of John’s family.

Pat Kelly
CLP Secretary

 

 

As former Leader; deputy Leader; Mayor; Borough and County Councillor, John’s influence on the Borough has been immense. His knowledge of, and influence with, the Thames Gateway area has resulted in Fastrack, Crossways Business Park, and Prospect Place; and informed thinking on so many of the development issues in Northwest Kent. In over 40 years of activism, he has supported so many people, in Temple Hill and elsewhere. John had a vast knowledge of development, transport, an housing issues; and his vision for Dartford was international in scope, including chairing the Town Twinning Association; and trade contacts in the Netherlands and South Korea.

Pat Kelly added:  “He was truly a giant of local politics in Dartford and throughout Kent”


Thu 14 August, 2014

Cllr John Muckle

Labour party members and supporters received the following sad email from Cllr Pat Kelly today: Read more

Here are the 10 steps Ed Miliband will immediately take if we win the next election.

 

We will:

  1. Freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017 and reform the energy market
  2. Get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020
  3. Stop families that rent being ripped off and help them plan for the future with new long term predictable tenancies
  4. Cut income tax for hardworking people through a lower 10p starting tax rate, and introduce a 50p top rate of tax as we pay off the deficit in a fair way
  5. Ban exploitative zero-hour contracts
  6. Make work pay by strengthening the Minimum Wage and providing tax breaks to firms that boost pay through the Living Wage
  7. Back small businesses by cutting business rates and reforming the banks
  8. Help working parents with 25 hours of free childcare for three- and four-year-olds
  9. Tackle the abuse of migrant labour to undercut wages by banning recruitment agencies that only hire foreign workers and pressing for stronger controls in Europe
  10. Back the next generation with a job guarantee for the young unemployed and more apprenticeships

This is our contract with you. Vote Labour to make Britain better off.

 

http://action.labour.org.uk/index.php/cost-of-living-contract


Thu 14 August, 2014

Labour's Cost-Of-Living Contract With You

Here are the 10 steps Ed Miliband will immediately take if we win the next election.   Read more

Bridge traffic Simon Thomson, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Dartford, has criticised the announcement from the government that a decision on the location of new Lower Thames Crossing is now been further delayed.
The delay in the decision, which is now not expected to be made until 2016, will mean more uncertainty for people in Dartford. Labour in Dartford is clear that further delay is unacceptable and believes the case has already been made to rule Dartford out as a possible location.

Simon Thomson said this morning:

“Local people will be dismayed at the news that this decision has been delayed yet again. There is no case to build the new crossing in Dartford, but this dithering by the government is just going to create more uncertainty for local people and businesses. It’s another example of the government and Dartford’s Conservative MP letting local people down oSimon Thomsonver the crossing.
“Over the last year Gareth Johnson had the opportunity to influence the government to rule out Dartford as a potential location for the new crossing. He’s failed to do that and seems happy to see the uncertainty for Dartford drag on. I don’t believe that’s good enough from the town’s MP. I will campaign strongly against a new crossing being built here. The fact is that over a year after the consultation was launched, the prospect of another crossing at Dartford is still very much on the table and the Conservatives have done nothing to put local people’s minds at rest.
“The government should not be considering building another crossing in Dartford when we know doing so will simply cause even more congestion and pollution in our town. Instead of conveniently kicking the decision into the long grass, I’m calling for the government to end the uncertainty and rule Dartford out now”

 

Labour Leader on Dartford Council, Geoff Prout, commented:
“It’s short-sighted of the government to use the introduction of the Dart Charge Scheme as an excuse to delay a decision on the location of a new crossing. The removal of the barriers and plazas is welcome but that will not address the problem of future capacity in our road network, nor deliver the economic growth that building a crossing further east will. That’s the real issue the government needs to tackle. It’s clear that Dartford cannot support another crossing, and the continued threat that the government may build one here is bad for both.


Tue 15 July, 2014

Delay to crossing decision - criticism

Simon Thomson, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Dartford, has criticised the announcement from the government that a decision on the location of new Lower Thames Crossing is now been further delayed. The delay in the decision, which is now not expected... Read more

Many people in Dartford are still struggling to make ends meet because of the government’s failure to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and make work pay. Yet on Monday our Tory MP Gareth Johnson said he wants to stick with the same old polices that are failing residents. Presumably our MP will have no problem declaring his support for the following:

  • The hiring of private firm ATOS to reassess vulnerable people for disability benefit only to have them languishing in uncertainty and stress thanks to a backlog of 780,000.
  • Child poverty in families with a single parent working full-time rising from 17% in 2011-2012 to 22% in 2012-2013.
  • £131 Million being written off because of the botched introduction of Universal Credit.
  • Introducing a Bedroom Tax that forces people out of homes they’ve lived in for years.
  • Over a Million people forced to rely on foodbanks.

Pawn.jpg

Dartford deserves someone who will speak out for them and face up to real struggles people are facing. In the last four years Gareth Johnson has:

  • Voted against a freeze on electricity bills
  • Voted against introducing a higher increase to the minimum wage
  • Voted against a ban on rip off fees by letting agents
  • Voted against slowing down the rise in rail fares.

While at the same time…

  • He supported an increase to VAT that hits ordinary families in Dartford while voting against a tax on bankers bonuses
  • He supported the unfair Bedroom Tax
  • He supported higher university tuition fees

Dartford’s cost of living crisis is far from over and Gareth Johnson and his friends in government have done little to help Dartford residents tackle it. Only Labour will introduce measures that will stand up to vested interests and reform our economy so it works for everyone – not just a few at top. We deserve an MP that that is on Dartford’s side. Simon Thomson – Labour’s prospective Parliamentary Candidate – says: ‘Mr Johnson’s record shows he doesn’t care about the issues affecting people in Dartford. So many of us are struggling to make ends meet at the moment. But Mr Johnson makes things worse by his backing government’s vindictive policies which just hurt ordinary families, do little to address this country’s real problems.”


Sun 06 July, 2014

Gareth Johnson MP backs failing policies

Many people in Dartford are still struggling to make ends meet because of the government’s failure to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and make work pay. Yet on Monday our Tory MP Gareth Johnson said he wants to stick with the... Read more

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