Labour’s parliamentary hopeful for South Thanet says residents will help to shape local party policy

Labour's Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt

Putting together a local economic plan for South Thanet, continuing to campaign against cuts in the health service and tackling poverty are some of the issues new Labour parliamentary hopeful Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt will be working on.

The parliamentary researcher, who has lived in Ramsgate for the last four years, will also be talking to members and residents about the issues they face and what action they want taken to make life in the constituency better.

Dr Gordon Nesbitt was selected for South Thanet at a Labour vote last month, beating an initial list of five other hopefuls to become the party’s MP in waiting.

She will be hoping to take the seat at the next General Election, scheduled for May 5, 2022, or sooner if a by-election is forced as a result of legal action against the current MP, Tory Craig Mackinlay.

Dr Gordon Nesbitt registered as a supporter of the Labour Party in July 2015 so she could vote for Jeremy Corbyn as leader.

She says many of those involved in her campaign were also relative newcomers brought to the party due to support for Corbyn.

She said: “We know what the traditional Labour Party looked like but with Jeremy Corbyn we  now have people who were not party members before. Most had been involved in demonstrations against issues such as austerity but were not affiliated to the party. I count myself as part of that influx and many of my team feel the same way.”

The campaign

Dr Gordon Nesbitt says the Corbyn factor has seen party membership swell five-fold, adding: “I represent four-fifths of the party as they are all similar to me.”

She is a member of the Ramsgate branch of the South Thanet constituency Labour Party, taking a role as auditor and delegate to the General Committee, alongside her research work for Lord Howarth of Newport, a Labour peer and former MP.

Her work involves interrogating Government policy, scrutinising evidence, consulting people from diverse backgrounds, drafting reports and briefing documents, advocating culture change and making submissions to Select Committee and other public-sector inquiries.

She says this experience has given her knowledge of the processes of Parliament, and perhaps put her ahead of the other candidates.

Although policies will be decided after speaking to residents there are issues Dr Gordon Nesbitt would hope to tackle.

She said: “We have been actively campaigning with SONIK (Save Our NHS in Kent) over Kent & Medway’s planned £450million in cuts, the possible loss of our stroke service and upcoming reviews for A&E and GP services.

In an area of deprivation it is tantamount to criminal. They (NHS) have a strong duty to look after people and iron out health inequalities.”

The economic plan, first tabled during a visit by John McDonnell to Thanet, is another project Dr Gordon Nesbitt want to explore.

She said: “I want to proactively campaign as we urgently need a viable economy in South Thanet.

“We will do our best to develop the local economic plan to produce locally and environmentally sustainable jobs and look at housing and infrastructure.”

Guido Fawkes

The first weeks as the parliamentary candidate have not been all smooth sailing. On April 18 political blogger Guido Fawkes published an article questioning the defence of Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker during their anti-Semitism scandals by think tank The Centre for Cultural Change. The website for the think tank is registered to Dr Gordon Nesbitt.

In defence she issued a statement, saying: “In 2016, I registered the url for The Centre for Cultural Change, an anonymous blog and twitter group run by activists from the Kent area. I am sincerely sorry for any hurt and offence caused by tweets from the account and regret that I did not understand this at the time they were posted.

“I have since developed a deeper understanding of antisemitism and the prevalence of antisemitic tropes, and I believe the expansion of political education on antisemitism within our movement is an essential step forward.

“ I fully support the efforts the Party is taking to stamp out antisemitism, and I look forward to working with the Jewish community in my constituency to raise awareness of antisemitism within our Party and within wider society.”

Open book

Dr Gordon Nesbitt hopes the statement will resolve that issue so she can get on with her plan to talk to residents and shape new policies.

She said: “I want to talk to as many people as possible. We will be knocking on doors and asking people what they want to see the next MP doing. We want policies to benefit the maximum number of people, not just Labour Party members but all the people in Thanet.

“Anyone can come to us with issues, we want everything to be an open book.”

Current MP Craig Mackinlay goes on trial at Southwark Crown Court on May 14 accused of two counts of making a false election expenses. He denies the charges.

The last Labour MP for Thanet was Stephen Ladyman who held the seat from 1997, taking it from Tory Jonathan Aitken, until 2010 when Tory Laura Sandys was voted in with a 7,600 majority .


  1. “She will be hoping to take the seat at the next General Election, scheduled for May 5, 2022, or sooner if a by-election is forced as a result of legal action against the current MP, Tory Craig Mackinlay”
    Or a General Election following a total collapse of this current shambles of a government?

  2. Oh dear. ….an open Corbynite ….That equates to total Marxist/ Leninist doctrines ….bottom line…..Communist …..No thanks…..
    Bring back the real Lsbour Party ….
    As that is not on the cards, and the Corbynistas have hijacked the Local Labour Party, all around the country ….Perhaps the Tories are the lesser of the evils…

    • Good grief! Marxist/Leninist doctrines…Communist… what sort of right-wing rubbish is this? Corbyn is a hundred times more socialist than Blair and his lot were.

      The Tories do not deserve to be in power. They are a heartless bunch, who seem to want to set us all against each other.

  3. It is utterly laughable that Corbyn is even thought of as very left wing. This is precisely because the current politics in the UK are extreme right wing, and just slightly left of fascism. Both Tories and Labour voters want the gradual re-nationalisation of utilities and transport and as for the NHS, it is only the very well off who support private medicine, and much of that is subsidised by the NHS.

    • I don’t agree; very many of the supporters of private medicine are fools who think that voting Tory raises their social standing.

  4. Corbyn is the most devious msn ever to have had the Leadership of the Labour Party..
    His cohorts are thugs, his links to terrorists across the globe, and his blatant hatred for all thing British is a disgrace …..
    He would sack the whole Defence Forces, Nationalise Everything, and bankrupt the Nation within a year ….
    The Tories are far from ideal…..but the alternatives are even worse ….

    • This is hysterical b*ll*cks that’s too barmy even for the Daily Mail (no UK tax paid since 1962). On Defence, Jeremy Corbyn has always supported a people-based policy: more personnel, less nuclear arsenal. And, as for “nationalising everything”, wouldn’t it be better (and more patriotic) for publicly-owned British utilities and railways to reap the rewards rather than foreign companies, as is now the case? The only people Corbyn is dangerous to are the tax-avoiding mega-rich and their minions.

  5. The tories have caused misery for the many and unfettered wealth for the few. Many people are near bankruptcy due to austerity. If the tories are the answer it must have been a stupid question!!

  6. I agree with the Scandinavian observer who thought that Jeremy Corbyn would be regarded as a moderate Social Democrat in a sensible country like Sweden or Norway, possibly a future NATO minister. But Britain is now so Right Wing, so dominated by the propaganda of the Right Wing newspapers, that he is seen as unbelievably extreme. It’s reassuring to know how quickly all print newspapers are declining in readership. Sad for the people who still work for them, but it will be a relief when they disappear.

  7. How anyone can vote for Tories when the NHS is being run down to privatise is madness. The stroke unit at QEQM is under threat of closure. Social Care is restricted, health care professionals leaving in greater numbers than entering. We have working
    people using food banks, social housing non existent and schools under pressure. Scandals of sexual deviance amongst their MPs and many Tories hiding money to avoid taxes.

  8. Rebecca gives me hope that things can change. As a disabled pensioner I fear for the future if the Tories continue in power.

  9. It’s time for a change. Time to get rid of this government that only represents the few, and replace it with one that represents more of us. Let’s see crucial infrastructure brought back into public ownership. The current systems aren’t working: if they were, we wouldn’t need OFWAT and OFGEN and so on.

    • Paul Staines (“Guido Fawkes”) is extremely right-wing. Better to look at news reports. Of course newspapers are usually biased too – so check out a broad selection.

  10. Before drawing attention to the (very painful) anti-semitic splinter in Labour’s eye, shouldn’t the Tory/UKIP supporters deal with the plank in their own?

  11. How can Jewish residents have any confidence in this woman? Seems awfully convenient to have a damascene conversion immediately before she has been given a plum new role!

  12. Only been in Labour 3 years and already knows the mantra. Poverty, NHS and Jobs. Truth is neither govts have done anything about any of those things in the last 20 years. 13 of those under Labour.

    • Stuart maybe apply a question from Parable of Talents ? Dr Nesbitt first degree is biomolecular science. Why does she not apply her expertise to the question of decades of cyclohexanone in Thanet water supply. ??

      She makes Sonik noises. Why does she not bring her expertise to bear on Thanet eppdemiology ?

      She works as a researcher for Lord Howarth of Newport which has implications of which you are aware. Says nowt

      She is from a medical research background and knows the role of Corbyn and Abbott covering up 43 cerebral palsy child care deaths in Hackney and Islington care at Beeches Ixworth Suffolk.

      Big question why were cerebral palsy children incarcerated so far from Islington yet very close to the Ida Darwin Cerebral Palsy research Hospital ? Which by the way suddenly started demolition a few months ago as the questions (Corbyn and Dr Nesbit dodge) are being asked.

      For a thought provoking read google Lord Howarth parliamentary expenses.

  13. Fascinating stuff from Richard Card (not that I bothered following much of the tortured logic). The big revelation to be learned from his comment is that the Tory/UKIP Parties are heading for the next General Election with just smears and fake “outraged questions” as their main weapon against Labour. Forget the actual policies and intentions, just invent a few nasty stories to reduce the Labour surge. Then hope the Tories get back in another coalition with somebody or other.

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