P-17: Only 16 full days of campaigning left in Stoke-on-Trent Central

After the argument and trauma of the EU Referendum and the sharp division that it has caused amongst Labour and Tory Parties the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election comes at a critical junction.  If the advance of the far-right is stopped here in Stoke-on-Trent it will be because of the campaign lead by Dr Zulfiqar Ali and the Liberal Democrats.So with 16 full days before the final polling day the schedule is going to impossibly tight. 

This article is to give you a short rundown of the plans and the ambition for the next week.  If this week’s programme does not convince you that we are trying to win, then frankly nothing will.

1. TIM FARRON IN TOWN.  Today, Monday 6th Party Leader Tim Farron was in town to support Dr Ali’s campaign.  Tim was on the College Road campus of Staffordshire University to urge students to register to vote.

2. POLLING DAY IS MONDAY 13th FEBRUARY.  Today it is just 7 days before the voters of Stoke-on-Trent Central begin to cast their postal votes and we need your help right now to deliver our bespoke leaflets to those voters on an almost daily basis for this final week campaign.

3. REGISTERING TO VOTE.  Midnight on Tuesday 7th February is the deadline for any resident in the constituency to register to vote in the forthcoming by-election.

4. ASKING FOR A POSTAL VOTE.  5pm on Wednesday 8th February is the deadline for any resident in the constituency to apply for a postal vote. We have a delivery virtually every day to this group of voters.

5. DELIVERING THE CONSTITUENCY.   On Wednesday or Thursday we take collection of the next constituency wide delivery and we need your help on the ground to get this literature out.

6. BUNDLING THE LEAFLETS.  Thursday and Friday will be all hands on deck with a massive bundling effort required in the office on both days and we will be open 10am until 9pm as usual.

7. BLUE LETTER ENVELOPES.  There are still envelopes to be written. Please come into the office any day this week to help with this critical task.

8. MOBILISATION OF FEDERAL MEMBERS.  This Saturday 11th a coach will leave London at 8am crammed with activists – we are urging all members from across the country who know what success means in a local Parliamentary By-Election.

9. FIRST EVE OF POLL FOR STOKE CENTRAL.  Sunday 12th we have a massive campaign of delivery and canvassing and knock up planned for the constituency and the postal voters and we need many of you to come and help.

10. 13th FEBRUARY IS POLLING DAY.  On Monday morning 13th February the postal votes will land on the mats of over 6,000 houses across the constituency and we have a large number of Liberal Democrat supporters to knock-up on the the day. The work of talking to the postal voters is critical to our chances in this constituency.  Please come along and help us lead the campaign.

So that is just a brief insight into the excitement that is the next 7 days of Dr. Zulfiqar Ali’s campaign operating from The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Sheaf Street, Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent. ST1 4LW.  The doors are open to very day from 10am until 9pm and the kettle is always boiling.

* Ed Fordham is a councillor on Chesterfield Borough Council and runs Brockwell Books of Chesterfield, selling many thanks, not least ephemera he bought from Liber Books over the last 25 years.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Maurice Leeke 6th Feb '17 - 10:11pm

    There was a great atmosphere there today, with first timer as well as more experienced campaigners (including Tim Farron and Lord Roberts – good to see you Roger). Not bad for a Monday ! Between deliveries I was eavesdropping on the exciting plans for the rest of the campaign.

    I have several more trips to Stoke planned and I hope to see many of you there.

    It really is worth making the effort for this one.

  • How much effort are the other parties putting in. I’m assuming the Tories are putting in little or no effort, but the rest?

  • Antony Watts 6th Feb '17 - 11:49pm

    Let’s be clear about what to say. This is not a battle between old conventional sides (neo-lib Tories vs working man Labour).

    This is a new battle, like the one being fought in France, between Nationalistic Popularism and Liberal fairness, freedom, open society, liberty, equality and community.

    Those are the messages we must shout out loud, nothing negative against right or left, this division of opinions is dead.

  • Katharine Pindar 7th Feb '17 - 12:25am

    Geographically you can’t drop in so easily to Copeland’s hundred-per-cent action campaign, but we’ve already welcomed you from Newcastle (the important one of course), Southport, Worcester – too busy now rushing in and out to stop and note all the addresses, but we’ve beds to spare still, so do come and stay. You’ll find the purposeful, efficient, ever-changing action that Lib Dems expect and slot into in these campaigns. reaching out from our Keswick HQ, supporting Rebecca’s fantastic schedule of meetings and appearances and media interviews, Millom one day, Whitehaven tomorrow, all the time new focused substantive leaflets coming to be delivered in their thousands.
    The additions you can’t get in Stoke struck me again today: the sheer beauty of the white-topped wind-whipped waves on Bassenthwaite, the looming snow-capped height of Skiddaw beyond – I was glad for once of the roadworks’ delay, to have time to drink in that view.

  • The people of Stoke are just like most other folks. They want the opportunity to get a decent job and house, good schools for their children, safe streets and a health service that works. Many think they have been ignored by recent governments and are now looking at alternatives. It’s hard to see UKIP getting a better chance than Stoke Central.

  • Malc: UKIP are sliding nationally, it is now not their time, it may come again, it may not, but they peaked some time ago. It is only the media, ike the BBC, who for some reason keep going on about them. A look at Farage’s recent body language tells a lot. It is not what he says, but how he says it. There seems to be a lot of self doubt. Labour to hold, Lib Dems second? The latter seem quite well organised and have been given six weeks campaining time which is a long period in politics.

  • theakes

    I agree that UKIP are sliding nationally, but they are still strong in certain areas and they have a fairly strong candidate. I think Labour will lose votes to both the Lib Dems and UKIP and that favours UKIP. Farage will be all over this campaign linking this by-election with Brexit and Trump, and despite what Mr Bercow thinks there is large support for both outside London.

  • Makc: Stoke on Trent is no different to elsewhere, UKIP is sliding. Have you been?

  • theakes

    It’s a fair few years since I’ve been to Stoke, but it’s a place I used to know well and I’ve still got a couple of mates who live there. I agree Stoke is no different from many other midlands/northern towns, but with Labour in a complete mess there is – in my opinion – a big danger UKIP will win this by-election. They have a strong, well known candidate and from most accounts they are running a good campaign. It’s hard to imagine Stoke Central not being a safe Labour seat, but these are changing times.

  • Mark Inskip 8th Feb '17 - 5:04pm

    Only Copeland has wind-whipped waves Katherine?

    Have you never been to Westport Lake on a windy day?

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