Obama's men targeted for Dagenham prison battle

John Phillips A US internet strategy firm Barack Obama used to reach voters before his historic victory could help Jon Cruddas consult residents on the Dagenham prison. The prominent Labour MP for Dagenham is hoping to work with Blue State Digital to sound public opini

John Phillips

A US internet strategy firm Barack Obama used to reach voters before his historic victory could help Jon Cruddas consult residents on the Dagenham prison.

The prominent Labour MP for Dagenham is hoping to work with Blue State Digital to sound public opinion on the proposed 1,500-inmate, category B prison to be built by 2013 off New Road which he claims is being "dropped on his constituents".

The Washington-based firm, which has an office in London, helped with Obama's online fundraising, voter outreach and social networking in the lead-up to his election victory in November.


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Mr Cruddas, left "outraged" after being told of the prison plans just 20 minutes before they were unveiled, is also hoping to discuss the issue in a one-to-one meeting with Gordon Brown next week.

A Facebook online campaign against the Dagenham prison had already been signed by 2,000 people.

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Mr Cruddas has distributed 4,000 questionnaires. The MP has acknowledged he may have to raise funds as part of a potential partnership with Blue State Digital.

He said: "I think I can raise some money. We're going to launch a massive campaign, also through the internet with people who are supposed to be the best in the world, so watch this space."

The Ministry of Justice is hoping to build the "safe and secure" jail, with modern healthcare and education facilities and training workshops, in a bid to tackle the growing prison population.

Mr Cruddas added: "I'm going to put a motion in parliament this week and ask detailed questions.

"Next week, I hope to see the Prime Minister in person and keep building up. It's not going to be resolved quickly.

"We're going to find out what people want. People are worried about this being dropped on them.

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