Labour ‘needs help’ defending its seat in Slough at the general election next month it is telling activists – amid suggestions that anger at the war in Gaza could dent its support.

Slough is among the places across Britain that Labour has singled out as ‘battleground’ areas it wants its campaigners to focus on.

That’s despite the fact that its MP Tan Dhesi held onto Slough in 2019 with almost 14,000 votes more than his closest rival.

The Labour Party in Slough told the Observer it was ‘absolutely focused on securing the Labour government that Slough needs'.

READ MORE: Slough councillor who quit Labour will 'work against' party

Slough is among the more than 250 seats Labour wants to focus its campaigning in, according to a study by the LabourList news website on Friday, June 7.

Most of those are areas where Labour thinks it can take the seat from the Conservatives. But LabourList says 22 of them are places that Labour already holds and is focused on defending.

An online tool that tells Labour members where to campaign says Slough is ‘a battleground area crucial to securing a Labour victory'. It tells members living in Slough “We need your help to hold this seat for Labour.”

In contrast, party members living in Labour strongholds not considered ‘battleground areas’ are directed to other constituencies.

LabourList – which is independent of the Labour Party – says Slough is one of the areas with ‘higher-than-average Muslim populations’ where anger at the war in Gaza could dent Labour’s support.

In Slough, Mr Dhesi faced criticism last year for abstaining on a vote in parliament calling for an immediate ceasefire. Seven councillors quit Labour on Monday, June 3, citing anger at the party’s position on the war in Gaza.

READ MORE: Slough MP Tan Dhesi warns against 'toxic' community politics

And an independent candidate Azhar Chohan appears to have gained strong support for his campaign, in which he says Gaza ‘one of the main issues’ for people in Slough.

A statement from the Slough Labour Group on Thursday, June 6, did not address the concerns directly or explain why the town is considered a ‘battleground’ for the party. It said its ‘priorities’ are the cost of living crisis and public services.

The statement said: “Slough residents are crying out for a change of government to fix our broken economy, tackling the cost of living crisis and halting the decline in our public services. They are desperate for a halt to the chaos of the last few years under the Tory regime. These issues are also our priorities.

“As such, our efforts are absolutely focused on securing the Labour government that Slough needs.”