Hitting the ground running: The first 100 days
Hitting the ground running: The first 100 days

General Election Political Update – Labour's Campaign

Words by:
Senior Political Advisor
June 6, 2024

In my first week as Senior Political Advisor at WA Communications, I was delighted to be able to sit down with Lee Findell, Partner and Head of Corporate Comms at WA, to discuss how the general election campaign is going and share my experiences from working at the heart of numerous general election campaigns

The conversation is the latest in a series of events on the upcoming general election with senior political and media figures hosted by WA.

A change in fortunes for Labour…

With recent polling predicting a dramatic and potentially historic win for Labour, party strategists are allocating resources and targeting seats that would have been a distant dream only a few years ago. There’s no doubt Labour HQ has a long hit-list, looking to win a range of different seats across the full length and breadth of Britain.

From regular party supporters knocking on doors to shadow cabinet ministers looking to generate media buzz and voter engagement, allocating these resources is a key component of election strategy and a revealing factor for the ambitions of a political party embroiled mid-campaign. Labour is reaching further and further into traditional Conservative territory, moving resources away from seats that would have been key battlegrounds just 5 years ago, believing that Labour’s position is increasingly secure in those areas.

On the other hand, the Conservatives are on the defensive, and with Nigel Farage throwing his hat in the ring they risk having their constituency majorities squeezed from the right and the left. Conservative Cabinet Members are locked into defending their own seats, with scarce time or energy to venture further than their own doorstep. From Chanceller of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt to Cabinet stalwart Grant Shapps, some of the most senior Tories are locked in a battle for their job.

But no complacency from Labour…

Tuesday’s TV debate reminded the country, not to mention senior Labour figures, why the modern Conservative Party has earned the reputation as a general election winning machine. Sunak hounded Starmer with the line that households would pay an extra £2000 under a Labour government, which is a classic play of Conservative election campaigns. They are extremely effective at distilling a message down and relentlessly pushing it so that it cuts through and sticks with the public when they go to the ballot box. This instance has reminded Labour that they cannot take their lead for granted and are all too aware the Conservatives will pull out all the stops to claw back any kind of advantage.

Labour, consequently, is playing a careful game. They have been cautious to steer well clear of making unfunded spending commitments. Additionally, they recognise they are unlikely to have a lot of fiscal headroom in office and, therefore, are careful to avoid making policy promises they are unsure they will be able to keep once they open the books for the first time in office. Labour has been keen to mitigate and counter the relentless Tory election media strategy by avoiding making the mistakes of previous election campaigns.

Critically, the Labour Party and Shadow Cabinet of 2024 is an indicator of an extremely disciplined messaging machine. The uniformity of message and purpose from Labour when in front of a camera or near a microphone is a sign that they have learned from both their past mistakes, but also their past victories. Labour are equal parts trying to turn people on to voting for them as they are trying to stop people from turning off.

How a Labour government might behave…

The Labour Party under Keir Starmer is emblematic of a party that has undergone a drastic revolution from within. They have been transformed into a unified, disciplined electioneering organisation and this is a significant indicator as well of how Labour will behave in government. Starmer has prioritised, at times ruthlessly, installing allies in safe seats who might make promising ministers of the future, but critically will support his leadership. He is not just thinking about how he will win; he is planning how he will govern.


This article is part of our Next Left series, which examines the people and policies that will shape the next government if Labour wins power – explore the guide in full here.


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