Labour's Manchester Central hopeful Lucy Powell is launching her ‘Putting Manchester First’ campaign with the party's Deputy Chair Tom Watson MP today.
The campaign begins with a special launch event at the National Cycling Centre, on Stuart Street, in Manchester on Saturday morning before campaigners hit the doorstep this weekend.
It marks the start of a major engagement campaign in Manchester Central as Labour begins the process of getting back on track with thousands of people who’ve stopped voting or never voted before as reflected by the poor turnout in the local elections 2012.
Social media will also play an important role in Lucy’s campaign and this Saturday also sees the launch of her website - lucypowell.org.uk - with links to Facebook and Twitter.
Lucy Powell, who has been shadowing outgoing Manchester Central MP Tony Lloyd since her selection, said: “I want to get out and meet as many people as possible in the next few weeks. Labour must be part of every community and that means changing the ways we do things.”
She added: “Knocking on the doors of people who have voted for Labour before or who we haven’t contacted for years will be a key part of my campaign putting Manchester first.
“People increasingly communicate in a variety of different ways but at the heart of everything we do should be listening to local communities and acting on their concerns.”
Tom Watson MP, Labour's deputy chair and campaign co-ordinator, said: "The Tories promised change but things are getting worse. They're out of touch and they're economic plan has failed - they're even dragging their feet on an inquiry into crooked bankers.”
He added: "It's not right. That's why I'm backing Manchester's Lucy Powell. She's tough. I know she'll make a difference for local people."
Social media melee
Both the Conservative and Labour Party have been trying to gain more votes in recent years by using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs to connect to the electorate.
Blogs such as ConservativeHome (a Conservative supporting blog) and LabourList (a Labour supporting blog) have allowed the political parties to re-engage with their members and hold their parliamentary parties to account.
Now most MPs have their own Twitter accounts, allowing them to utilize the micro-blogging website to keep their constituents up to date on what they are doing.
Despite the politicalisation of social media, Labour’s exploration into the medium has not been without its troubles.
The Daily Telegraph in 2009 reported that Gordon Brown's special adviser Damian McBride sent emails to Derek Draper, former editor of LabourList, discussing plans to set up a blog which would produce false smears about Conservative MPs’ private lives.
In January 2012, Tom Watson’s Twitter account was ‘hijacked’ by an intern who posted an unauthorized Tweet: “I should log out of my Twitter so that my intern doesn’t twit-rape me…”
The bumbling intern provided an apology on the social networking site minutes later.