Ipswich Labour Party gets national award after surprise election victory

Ipswich Labour Party is presented with an award for its digital work during the election campaign. F

Ipswich Labour Party is presented with an award for its digital work during the election campaign. From left: Ian Lavery MP, Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn MP, Martin Cook, Andrew Gwynne MP, Ipswich agent John Cook, Ipswich MP Sandy Martin, Party General Secretary Iain McNichol. Picture: LABOUR PARTY - Credit: Archant

Sandy Martin’s surprise election victory in June has brought Ipswich Labour Party a national award – thanks to a some long-distance campaigning from the Czech Republic!

Ipswich members were presented with the Best Digital Campaign award by Jeremy Corbyn at the Labour Party Conference after the constituency’s Facebook campaign delivered nearly 250,000 messages during the run-up to the general election.

Much of this was masterminded by local councillor Martin Cook during a holiday in Prague which had been booked long before the election was called.

Ipswich Labour agent John Cook (no relation) said: “Martin set up this campaign but he had booked his holiday in Prague after the local elections, not expecting there to be a general election called straight after it.

“He went ahead with the holiday, but spent two hours a day setting up the Facebook posts and targeting them at our potential voters and it all paid off.”

The party believes the digital campaign was crucial in persuading young voters to turn out and vote Labour.

One of the main differences between the 2015 and 2017 elections is thought to be the number of younger voters who turned out, especially to vote Labour.

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And digital media is thought to have been crucial in persuading more of them to vote – many went to the polling stations for the first time in their lives this year after being persuaded that it was worth voting in the general election.

New Ipswich MP Sandy Martin, who won with a majority of 831 over Ben Gummer, said the digital campaign was crucial to the party’s success in the seat.

He said: “It is important that you have a good message – but it is even more important that you get that message out to people wo they know why they should vote for you. That is why our campaign was so successful.

“In 2015 I don’t think people knew what our message was which is why we didn’t do so well. This time the work that Martin did helped get our message across to the right people and we know what happened.”

The award was presented at the Brighton party conference by Mr Corbyn along with senior Labour campaign chiefs Ian Lavery and Andrew Gwynne alongside the party’s general secretary Iain McNichol.