Beckenham and Penge is a new seat and it’s a seat we must win.
If you choose me as your Labour candidate my promise is simple: to bring us together to win. One team to win in Beckenham & Penge next year, one team to win across Bromley for generations to come.
My name is Melanie Ward. I’m a charity Chief Executive, a leading anti-poverty campaigner and a South East London Mum.
I’m standing to be your Labour Parliamentary Candidate in Beckenham & Penge. I’m standing to beat the Tories. I’m standing to make change happen.
I’ve spent 10 years leading charities that fight for justice. I’ve faced down Presidents and Prime Ministers to get help to desperate people. I’ve got girls fleeing Boko Haram into school in Nigeria and delivered medicine to people being bombed in Gaza, where a ceasefire is desperately needed.
And I’ve fought for my family here at home too; last year winning the battle for my brother - who has complex disabilities - to get the social housing and care package he needs.
It shouldn’t be so hard, but as anyone who has tried to get a GP appointment recently knows, our public services are crumbling. After thirteen years of Tory governments, our country is broken.
We need to fix it, we need to win the next general election, we need to win in Beckenham & Penge.
My track record shows that I make change happen. I get difficult things done because I know who I am fighting for. I’m fighting for kids whose life chances have been slashed. I’m fighting for parents priced out of childcare. I’m fighting for people forced to turn to food banks.
And I’m fighting for Labour in Beckenham & Penge.
Together, we will win and turn this area red for generations to come. Join me.
There’ll be no Labour government unless we win here...
It matters to me to earn your trust as well as your vote. If you select me I will:
You won’t find a more active, campaigning candidate. I’ve already knocked on hundreds of doors across this new constituency. I’ve been a Parliamentary Candidate before so have the experience to hit the ground running as well as the credibility to win votes in every part of Beckenham & Penge.
As an international humanitarian advocate and charity leader I’ve run campaigns that have changed laws. I meet regularly with shadow cabinet members and I’ve appeared as an expert in front of House of Commons committees. I’ll have national influence for Beckenham and Penge in a transformative Labour Government; pushing for policies that root out poverty and make life better for so many people who are struggling.
I don’t do things by halves and for me this is a long-term commitment. I’ll use my experience to beat Bob Stewart and then put in the graft to turn Beckenham and Penge into a safe Labour seat. Together we’ll win more Labour council seats in Bromley in areas like Kelsey and Eden Park.
I’ll be grounded in Beckenham and Penge, living in the community with my family as your MP. I’ll open a prominent constituency office and advice centre. I’ll take casework seriously, hold regular roving surgeries and work with members, councillors, trade unions and community groups to make change happen. And I’ll always listen to you: our members.
My belief that everyone matters is at the heart of my politics. I’ll run inclusive campaigns which unite us. I’ll continue to fight proudly for equality and opportunity for women, and be an ally to disabled, Black and minoritised ethnic, and LGBTQ+ people. Racism, including Antisemitism and Islamophobia, has no place in our Party or our community.
At work, the last few weeks have been the hardest in my decade of leadership in international aid charities. My Palestinian colleagues in Gaza are saving lives while bombs explode around them. Their determination and bravery inspires me. As your MP, I’ll continue to fight for foreign policy rooted in our Labour values and a Britain on the world stage that we can be proud of once again.
I’m standing to make change happen. If I’m elected I’ll focus on:
Tackling poverty and the cost of living catastrophe
Ending poverty must be the central mission of any Labour Government. After 13 years of Tory rule, some 40% of people in Beckenham & Penge couldn’t afford to switch the heating on last winter when they wanted to; and 29% feared they would have to use a foodbank. This cannot go on. I’ll support an assault on child poverty; a real living wage; a fair deal for workers; affordable, community-owned energy; and a shift to net zero.
NHS and social care
Decent healthcare is central to a good life. Our NHS is on its knees and our social care system is completely dysfunctional. Every local hospital has ‘requires improvement’ status, waiting lists are the 4th highest in England, and GP appointments are too hard to come by. I’ll support the investment our NHS so desperately needs to save it - including in mental health - and will proudly campaign for a National Care Service.
Education and the early years
I believe that supporting children in their early years is the best investment a government can make. I’ll support a successor to Sure Start and back a reform of childcare because the average London nursery place costs £19,000 a year, forcing parents - mainly women - out of work. I’ll support teachers and parents in their fight for funding and investment to ensure schools are safe and stimulating environments for our children to learn, play and develop.
Decent housing, sustainable public transport and a safe community
Everyone deserves a warm, safe place to live but too many local residents are living in unaffordable, overcrowded and poorly maintained homes. From ensuring there are enough social and affordable homes to rent or buy, to reforms to protect private sector renters and end homelessness, housing is a critical issue - and not a “lifestyle choice”!
Sustainable public transport means reversing cuts to local train services, expanding bus services and backing a serious plan for affordable transition to electric vehicles. We need to tackle the causes of crime so that our streets and parks are safe for everyone.
An international reputation to make us proud
Brexit is a disaster; I’ll push for closer ties with our friends in Europe. Axeing the aid budget was a Tory mistake that cost lives; I’ll push to reverse this. At work I’ve dealt with the impacts of climate change: water shortages, conflict and migration; I’ll back serious action to tackle the climate emergency. I’ve seen war up close as missiles fell nearby; I know from this how crucial it is that our country respects human rights, treats refugees fairly and upholds international law. I know too that there is no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; only a political one. And I know that we must stand up to Russian aggression.
Melanie Ward is exactly the person we need as the Labour candidate who can win the marginal seat of Beckenham and Penge and become the Labour MP. She has the ideas and the experience to put the Tories on the back foot. I have seen close up how Mel is principled, brave, visionary and kind. Mel knows the difference a Labour Government can make, but also that we won’t get elected without the right programme and the right people. And once elected, she will represent her constituents with dedication and build the majority. She will be a strong voice for Beckenham and Penge, and for Labour.
We need Mel in Parliament. She’s a serious and experienced campaigner who the Tories in Beckenham and Penge will fear. Over the years she has shown that she doesn’t just talk about change, she makes it happen.
Mel knows how to advocate locally and nationally. She will be a change-maker in both arenas, fearlessly raising her voice for women, and against poverty and inequality. Mel is exactly the kind of colleague I want to join me on the benches when the next Labour Government is elected in 2024.
I was born and brought up in Penge, and I’m supporting Melanie because she understands the area and the issues local people face. As a local NHS doctor, I’ve been impressed by Melanie and her tireless campaigning for our NHS and social care system.
Melanie is not only the experienced and determined candidate we need to beat the Tories but the dedicated MP our constituency deserves.
I’m so proud to support Mel: she is exactly the voice of integrity and experience that our local area needs. Mel’s energy, work ethic and strength of character have inspired me to progress from local member to Labour Party activist.
I am continually impressed by the way her leadership rallies more supporters every day. And we are all energised to make sure that the first MP for Beckenham and Penge is Labour: and she is Melanie Ward.