It’s all change at the top of North Norfolk Labour Party after this week’s AGM where Jen Emery took over as the new chair of the resurgent constituency party. Jen promises to bring Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘new politics’ to North Norfolk, looking at new ways to unite the hundreds of new members and supporters who have joined the party in recent months.
Jen, from Cromer, is a former NHS worker and now a town councillor, publisher, and small business owner. She was a candidate in this year’s North Norfolk District Council elections and has worked with the party’s executive team over the past three years. She decided to stand for chair after being inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s speech in Brighton last month.
In her first speech to the party she stressed Jeremy Corbyn’s vision of a new kind of politics would be felt in North Norfolk – with more opportunity to debate national and local politics, as well as more social events for supporters of the new emerging modern left. She said she was looking forward to playing a big role in the forthcoming by-election in South Smallburgh, and fighting to keep Britain in the EU ahead of a future referendum. She emphasised the significance of the many new young members joining the party, and said she would be working with the executive team to get them more involved.
Speaking after the event Jen said: “I’m delighted to have been elected Chair of the North Norfolk Labour Party. It’s an extraordinary time for politics, with lapsed members and new people, young and old, joining Labour. There’s a new sense of conviction and pride about our Party’s origins, as well as genuine political difference. I am proud to be part of a Party with a growing commitment to creating a more equal and caring society.”
Jen replaces Denise Burke, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate in May, who has stepped down after four years of leading the constituency party. She has recently taken up a new job in the Netherlands after seeing the party through the General Election. In Denise’s speech she thanked both supporters inside and outside of the party for their help during the election, and long-term members for their help with campaigning over the past four years.
Two familiar faces will support Jen in her new role. Jono Read will return to the position of vice-chair overseeing campaigning – replacing Stephen Burke. Callum Ringer will be tasked with the role of vice-chair overseeing internal affairs – including ways to engage with the party’s surging membership.
At the busy AGM on Thursday it was reported that the number of paid up members and supporters had trebled in numbers since the General Election, and that there was a further surge of new members joining since Jeremy Corbyn’s election to leadership last month. A number of those new faces were in attendance at the meeting, and took on roles in the local party.
It was also announced last night that the speaker at Labour’s Christmas Meal would be Kerry McCarthy – the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.