Sunday, 8 April 2012

People's Pledge: Thurrock Referendum Historic Result

Following the referendum organised in Thurrock the following email was sent to all Councillors (in England?).

"Numbers voting AGREE 13,111  (89.9%) 
Numbers voting DISAGREE 1,479 (10.1%)

Dear Councillor,

The People’s Pledge campaign in Thurrock closed at 5pm on Thursday.
47,995 ballot papers were issued by Electoral Reform Services Limited, and
14,590 people have returned them by post or voted electronically.
That is a turnout of 30.39%

The result will cause consternation among all the main parties at Westminster who have all tried to ignore the issue. In Thurrock itself, both the Conservative MP, Jackie Doyle-Price, and her Labour challenger, Polly Billington, have refused to engage with the People’s Pledge. In a seat where the majority was 92 at the last election, neither politician can now afford to ignore 14,590 local voters, almost as many as each of their parties polled in the general election.

Ian McKenzie, Director of the People’s Pledge, commenting immediately after the figures were announced, said:

“This turnout is astonishing and vastly exceeds anyone’s expectations, including mine. Two months’ very hard work by our small highly dedicated team has paid off in spectacular style. Earlier this week, when we were finding so people had already voted, it was clear something very exciting was about to happen. These numbers were simply unimaginable.

“A turnout this large proves two things. First, electors will respond to political activity that engages them. The myth of the disinterested citizen is just that, a myth. Knock on enough doors, respectfully explain why you are there, and, if your message is strong enough, people will respond.

“Second, the political parties at Westminster are going to have to rethink their attitude to a national referendum on the EU. “Heads in sand” is no longer a viable strategy; the people of Thurrock have just taken it off the table.

“I hear reports that the Whips on both sides of the House of Commons have been active in recent weeks trying to dismiss the People’s Pledge. I have immense respect for the Whips having worked for a Government Chief Whip for three years, so I overcome some trepidation when I implore them to look upon the People’s Pledge not as a posing a threat but providing an opportunity. This is a real chance for your Members of Parliament to revitalise and renew their relationships with the people who send them to Westminster and for whom they ultimately work, their voters.

“We are going to have a few days off and then plan the next stages of the campaign both here in Thurrock as we analyse the result and nationally for the next 11 People’s Pledge referendums.”

“Finally, I’d like to thank the whole People’s Pledge team for a fantastic effort and this great result. Much more importantly, I’d like to thank the people of Thurrock for responding so magnificently. Thurrock, with this first important step, you are now leading the way to a national referendum for the rest of us.”

If you would like to sign the pledge please reply to this email at  or to find out more information please visit our website at

Finally, the People’s Pledge would like to wish good luck to all Councillors who are standing for re-election this year."