Elmet and Rothwell nomination meetings

On Tuesday, July 16 (tomorrow evening) all five branches of Elmet and Rothwell constituency Labour Party will hold their nomination meetings where they will be able to nominate candidates to be considered by all members in the final vote.

I’m asking you to attend the meeting in Garforth and to please nominate me as Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate. This is very important as your nomination at your branch will ensure this important decision is made by local Labour Party members instead of it being imposed upon us from outside.

I believe – and many local members and councillors – believe that only a hardworking, local candidate with a real record of success can beat Alec Shelbrooke. Labour members from every ward have pledged their support, because they know I can beat the Tories.

I don’t just talk about challenging Alec Shelbrooke. I do it. Attacking him in the media, in leaflets and on the internet to challenge his government’s HS2 failures, the Bedroom Tax and privatising our NHS. Just in the last few days I’ve defended our historic link with trade unions where the subscriptions of millions of workers help fund the Labour Party, while attacking his Tories for preferring to take money from betting firms and bankers.

That’s why he in his last newsletter he attacked me for challenging his perverse ‘Benefit Card’ to stigmatise people on benefit.

Many in our party talk about using the internet to campaign, but I do it and have done for the last eight years – on my website, Facebook and Twitter.

I’m a working class woman who grew up in a council house and started work in a factory. I’ve worked in the public, private, voluntary sectors and am now self-employed. I’m exactly the sort of candidate that Labour needs as voters are fed up with politics as usual where MPs are remote from their constituencies and have spent their lives working in politics in London. I used to be a local councillor for Garforth, Swillington and Methley and I’ve lived in our constituency for 22 years.

I beat a Liberal Democrat to win my council seat in Rothwell and I will beat a Tory in Elmet and Rothwell to win a seat in Parliament for Labour.  

I love Elmet and Rothwell and want to serve its people. I already live here with my family. My husband works here and our daughter is at school here. Nominate me if you think there should be more real people in Parliament.

If you need to know anything about the nomination meeting then please get in touch.

Tom Murray, Garforth and Swillington councillor and Lord Mayor of Leeds

Tom Murray, Garforth and Swillington councillor and Lord Mayor of LeedsI’ve been overwhelmed by the messages of support that I’ve been receiving from local members and councillors across the constituency.

One that means a lot to me personally is from Garforth and Swillington councillor Tom Murray who has just started doing a fantastic job as Lord Mayor of Leeds. I first knew Tom as one of my own local councillors who I went campaigning with and later when I was elected as a councillor I  had the privilege as serving as his ward colleague.

“I fully support Karen to be our Parliamentary Candidate at the general election. I’ve worked with Karen for more than 15 years and as a fellow councillor for Garforth, Swillington and Methley I’ve seen at first hand her hard work, passion and enthusiasm. Not only will she be an outstanding campaigner, but even more importantly she won’t back down in Westminster when fighting for what’s best for local people.

With her local knowledge and experience, coupled with her political, personal and work life experience, she is uniquely qualified to represent local people. Over the years she’s evidenced how committed she is to local people. I’ve seen how passionate and caring she is about social justice, inequality and creating opportunity.

I have seen her grow over those years and I was delighted when she beat the Lib Dems in Rothwell and I believe she now has the necessary experience needed to represent us in Parliament. Karen understands the problems that families in our constituency face because she, Stuart and Esme are one of those local families.”

Karen Bruce seeks selection as Labour candidate in Elmet and Rothwell for 2015 general election

Karen Bruce speaking at Labour Party conferenceI’m humbled and honoured that local Labour Party members and councillors have asked me to stand as Labour’s candidate for Elmet and Rothwell in the 2015 general election and want to let you know that I’ve decided to stand for selection.

We don’t yet know what the timetable will be, but over the next few weeks I want to meet every single local party member to talk about how we win Elmet and Rothwell back for Labour.

As I live in Rothwell, in the constituency, and am a councillor here, I believe that I’m in the strongest position to beat the Conservatives. In fact because of council ward boundary changes I’ve actually been a councillor in three out of the five four council wards that make up the constituency as I used to represent Garforth, Swillington and Methley. I’ve also lived in both Methley and Swillington. This gives me a unique local knowledge and experience.

Elmet and Rothwell is a seat that Labour must win if we are to beat the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition. I know just how hard that fight will be and I’m more than up for the challenge. Since I won the first council seat back off the Liberal Democrats in 2011 we’ve won a second so there is only one left in the constituency. However, we still have a strong base of Conservative councillors that highlight the challenge that we’ve got.

I already use this blog and my Twitter account to take on the Liberal Democrats here in Rothwell and also to challenge Alec Shelbrooke MP our local Tory MP in Elmet and Rothwell. You’ll be seeing even more of that over the next few weeks as we can’t put fighting the Tories and Lib Dems on hold while we decide who Labour’s candidate will be.

I’ve also set up a Karen for Elmet and Rothwell Facebook page that initially I’ll mainly use to have conversations with Labour Party members so that I can build a strong campaign platform to beat Alec Shelbrooke.

I’ll be contacting the local Labour Party members who already know me (and that’s most of you!)  shortly to arrange a good time to meet. But in the meantime don’t hesitate to get in touch with me by texting 07534 822479 or using the contact form.

UPDATE: Quick thanks to Alec Shelbrooke MP for pointing out the typo where it should have said five wards, not four!

UPDATE 2: Added photograph so that the post will display properly in the featured posts list.

Elmet and Rothwell selection for Labour’s Parliamentary candidate

I have been asked by local Labour Party members to put my name forward to be selected as Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for the new constituency of Elmet and Rothwell.The constituency contains most of the old constituency of Elmet (currently represented by Colin Burgon MP), as well as all of the Rothwell ward from the old Morley and Rothwell constituency (Colin Challen MP) and parts of Leeds North East (Fabian Hamilton MP).

I’m humbled and honoured by the support and encouragement that I’ve received from members right across the constituency from Wetherby in the north, through to Garforth, Swillington and Methley, and of course my own ward of Rothwell. I’ve lived in the constituency and have been an active Labour Party campaigner here for most of my adult life. I’ve lived in Methley and Swillington and now live in Carlton, Rothwell with my husband Stuart and little girl Esme (who we’ve just signed up to attend our local school).

Elmet and Rothwell has a proud Labour history, rich in industry, culture and tradition. It is a constituency that Labour must win if we are to protect all that we have achieved since 1997 – and if we are to achieve even more in the future.

Finally I’d again like to thank Colin Burgon MP for all his dedicated service to the the local Labour Party and our local communities. For 26 years – through good times and bad – he has dedicated his life to working for us. I bring enthusiasm, passion, experience, commitment and bags of energy to continue to unite the local Labour Party and ensure we keep campaigning to win Elmet and Rothwell.

How Brits are using #welovetheNHS to support Obama

Karen Bruce campaigning for Barack ObamaLast October I went on holiday to Philadelphia, which is in Pennsylvania and was one of the key states that Barack Obama needed to win. We ended up as a bit of a busman’s holiday as we spent a good bit of time campaigning for Obama. For the holiday we did a house swap with a couple in Philadelphia so we ended up volunteering in the local Fishtown office of the Democrats. What was most amazing is how similar it was canvassing the streets of Philadelphia to doing the same in places like Garforth, Methley, Swillington, Rothwell and Wetherby.The picture is me and Esme preparing to set out to do some good old-fashioned door knocking.

You hear some amazing and moving stories on the doorstep. In one house we visited the mother and grandmother were adamant they weren’t going to bother voting because “all politicians are the same”. After I’d spoken to them for a while we discovered that the grandfather was plagued with health problems and couldn’t afford the treatment he really needed. I explained that all politicians weren’t the same and that one of Obama’s main commitments was healthcare reform to give families like theirs a fair opportunity to receive the same healthcare that in the USA only the privileged can afford. I was so excited when I realised that my arguments had succeeded and that the whole family had pledged to support Obama!

President Obama (I still get goose bumps when I say it) is now fighting right-wing Republicans to get his healthcare reform plans enacted. The Republicans are resorting to every dirty trick in the book and are launching vicious attacks on our NHS, claiming that it’s “socialist” healthcare and it doesn’t give people the care they’d get under America’s private system. The Republicans are running nasty TV ads full of lies attacking the NHS.

Yesterday an amazing thing happened and a guy called Graham Lineham decided to use the internet and people power to fight back. Graham is better known as the award winning comedy writer behind Father Ted and The IT Crowd. He started a hash tag on Twitter called #welovetheNHS, within hours it was the most talked about topic on Twitter as thousands and thousands of people starting sharing their stories of how the NHS had helped them. The Labour Party has now put together a fantastic little widget that means you can display these moving stories on your website or Facebook. As well as showing it below I’ve created a special page for it here.