The assembled crowd included seasoned activists, new members and supporters who had come along to hear candidate Richard Quigley open the campaign, and to learn how they can play a role.
Mr Quigley was introduced by 2017 candidate and Party Chair, Julian Critchley, and rousing speeches were also heard from former Portsmouth North Labour MP Sarah McCarthy-Fry, and Ryde Labour activist Colleen Brannon.
Mr Quigley spoke of his pride at being selected to represent the Labour party on the Isle of Wight and of his lengthy experience in Island business and community groups. He made a commitment to a clean campaign, with no personal attacks on any candidate, insisting that the Labour Party would have nothing to do with the aggression and hostility which has become all too common in political discourse.
Mr Quigley insisted that the campaign would be about much more than simply Brexit. The key issues for Islanders in the election would be Labour’s plans to restore public services after a decade of Tory cuts. He cited St Mary’s hospital, the island’s schools and council services for the elderly and vulnerable as key battlegrounds where Labour would campaign.
“The 2017 General Election result demonstrated that only Labour can seriously challenge the Tories on the Island, as we finished thousands of votes clear of the minor parties.
“With that achievement came a great responsibility. We’re not here to feel pleased about coming second. We have a duty to Islanders to do everything in our power to send a Labour MP to Westminster, to ensure that the next Labour government delivers the investment our Island needs.
“Tonight was just the start of our campaign. Building on what we achieved in 2017, this will be our biggest ever campaign. Tonight showed the enthusiasm and commitment of my fellow islanders to bring about real change for our Island. Together, we intend to turn the Wight red.”