'Unseat Grant Shapps' campaign event arranged in Welwyn Hatfield
PUBLISHED: 13:07 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:07 11 September 2017
A political campaign to unseat senior Conservative politicians including Welwyn Hatfield's Grant Shapps has been officially launched.
Momentum – a left-wing organisation linked to Labour – has organised mass canvassing sessions to target several new marginal seats following June’s general election.
The Welwyn Hatfield event gunning for former Tory co-chairman Mr Shapps’ seat is set to take place on Saturday, September 16.
Momentum member Joseph Ejiofor said: “Momentum are teaming up with journalist Owen Jones to campaign vigorously in their seats and take them for Labour at the next election.
“We helped create a ‘Portillo moment’ for Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam in June, and we plan to do the same for senior Conservative MPs next time around.”
The day will begin with “persuasion canvassing training sessions”, followed by the real thing before food and speeches from Labour activists and shadow cabinet members.
Mr Shapps has been repeatedly elected since 2005, but he saw his majority cut from 12,153 to 7,369 in June – mirroring a trend for Conservative MPs across Hertfordshire.
A Facebook page message detailing the borough’s event reads: “All the cuts to public services, the slashing of tax on the rich, the privatisation – he voted for it.
“So let’s campaign with Labour’s positive message: asking those at the top to pay a [bit] more so we can invest in the economy. Abolishing tuition fees. A genuine living wage. Public ownership. We can change Britain forever.”
However, Mr Shapps told the WHT: “I go knocking on doors to help out residents with my MP’s Action Team every single month of the year, rain or shine, whether there is an election on or not.
“Of course, anyone is welcome to campaign in Welwyn Hatfield, that is a fundamental part of our democracy.
“Some locals say they are concerned about outsiders turning up to run a deeply negative campaign. I’ve no idea if that’s true, but negative campaigning goes down badly here in Welwyn Hatfield.”
He also said that regardless of the campaign, he will continue with tens of thousands of pieces of individual casework on behalf of residents, as well as wider campaigns.
“I make a point of never mentioning my opponents in my material, because I’m convinced that the public want to hear what you’ll do for them, not one side slagging off the other or trying to shout them out,” he added.
Other Tory seats being targeted include those of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Education Secretary Justine Greening and former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.