LONDON — Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s is among more than 160 MPs being targeted by a network of left-wing activists hoping to train activists to help elect a Labour government.
The pro-Jeremy Corbyn grassroots group Momentum, is to run day workshops to train activists in persuasive canvassing techniques in order to prepare for the next election, following their success in motivating voters before June’s general election.
At training camps, the activists will be taught to make viral videos and how to generate local press coverage for their efforts.
Momentum will initially be targeting high-profile newly marginal seats, including Johnson’s Uxbridge constituency and Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s seat of Hastings and Rye.
The group is then aiming to train a “core group of Labour activists” so they can help spread training to thousands of Momentum members across the country.
They say it is part of their “permanent general election campaign,” and their continued campaigning is so they are prepared for an election to happen at any time.
Some of the target seats are places that Labour has never won before, such as Camborne and Redruth as well as places with thin majorities such as Southampton Itchen, where Conservative Royston Smith only won by 31 votes.
Prominent Labour politicians and campaigners have already targeted marginal London constituencies. Columnist Owen Jones visited Uxbridge & South Ruislip alongside Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry to campaign against Johnson.
There has also been a high-profile campaign against former work and pensions secretary Ian Duncan Smith’s constituency of Chingford and Woodford Green, which he held by less than 3,000 votes.
Beth Foster-Ogg, Momentum’s training coordinator, said: “This election showed what a groundswell of ordinary people, knocking on doors and campaigning for the Labour Party can do.
“Now we want to skill up the hundreds of thousands of new Labour Party members so they can be better, more effective campaigners when the next election comes, and so they can campaign and organise in their communities outside of election time.”
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