High-profile Labour figures have been complaining this week, following the release of the Labour leadership hustings timetable at the weekend.
The timetable revealed that hustings had not been organised in every region or nation, including here in Kent.
Labour Cllr Kelly Grehan from Dartford shared her frustration at the decision on twitter earlier this week. She tweeted: “So not only is Kent not getting a #LabourLeadershipElection hustings but there is not even one in the South East.
“This is a terrible way to treat us activists.”
The complaints from Labour figures comes as they feel the party are only targeting main cities and not the areas that the party performed poorly in at the General Election last month.
The initial timetable announced that there will be hustings held only in Liverpool, Durham, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Glasgow and London.
There were additional hustings added in Leeds, Nottingham and West Brom.
A hustings in Brighton was also later added to the list but has still left confusion and frustration for those in Kent as there appear to be no plans of adding hustings in the county.
Speaking to Cllr Kelly Grehan more about this, she said: “It is really disappointing that there will not be a hustings in Kent. If we are to have a Labour government, and it is my belief that – for the sake of the country that we must, then we need to be winning seats in Kent.
“Not having a hustings in Kent is neglectful, indicates a lack of ambition for regaining the county and is really frustrating for activists, like myself, who dedicate so much time to the party.”
Labour currently have only one MP in Kent – Rosie Duffield in Canterbury.
Pressure from activists saw the late edition of Brighton to the timetable however this doesn’t benefit everyone in the South East.
Cllr Kelly Grehan added: “Originally there was not one in the South East at all but there will now be one in Brighton. But this is too far – in terms of travel and expense for most people.
“It does not look like [any more hustings will be added]. The Brighton one was added following pressure, but that seems to be it.”
Shadow cabinet member and leadership frontrunner, Keir Starmer, has written to Labour’s general secretary, Jennie Formby, and national executive committee chair, Andi Fox, with his concerns.
In the letter, he wrote: “I am disappointed that the party has chosen not to organise leadership hustings in every Labour Party region and nation.”
He added: “I am concerned that the decision does not reflect well on the party.”
Leadership candidate Jess Phillips said: “It will take a lot more than holding a local hustings to win back trust in the seats we lost at the general election, but it would be a start. Let’s have more events in every region and nation – and not just in big cities.”
Starmer has called upon the procedures committee – made up of NEC officers and Formby, to reconsider the schedule that has been published by Labour and to commit to hold an event in every region and nation.
The first hustings will start on January 18th in Liverpool and the final scheduled hustings will be on the 29th February in Brighton.