From the bottom of my heart, thank you for making me your MP again. Thank you!
I know this wasn’t an easy election for you. I know a lot of you agonised about how to express the strong views you have about everything that’s going on locally, nationally and globally with just one cross in one box. A great many people told me about their concerns with the Labour Party too and want big changes in the way we go about our politics. You told me of the need to broaden our appeal by rooting ourselves more firmly in the realities of the modern economy and global challenges. I listened carefully, I hear you, and I will fight for that change.
Like you I now have to adapt to the new political reality we face. Also probably like you I feel some apprehension and anxiety about the months ahead.
There have been three elections and a referendum in the four and a half years since I became your MP, not much time to pause and take stock! But I’ve learned in that time that it takes a little while to learn the new reality and your place within it after the upheaval of an election. So in the coming days and weeks I’ll be watching closely and learning what the new political landscape means in practice, what’s not possible now that was before and where the new opportunities to make a difference lie.
Boris Johnson has a large majority now so the agency I had as a backbencher, keen to find consensus across the House and use it to shape the agenda, has been greatly reduced. I’m going to have to find new opportunities to make a difference amidst the rubble of this election.
I’ve spent most of this weekend sleeping, reflecting, and eating lots of healthy food. I’ve also been speaking to many of my close friends who lost their seats. Really special people like Phil Wilson, Anna Turley, Ruth Smeeth, Emma Reynolds and Paula Sheriff. I was in my flat after the polls closed and watched TV like everyone else. Whenever the presenter excitedly announced someone had lost, most people are swept up in the drama of our democracy unfolding in such a stark and brutal way. But for me it was often a body blow seeing people I loved and admired for their dedication swept aside.
Knowing all this you can imagine how grateful I am to you for choosing to stick with me. Very!
Tomorrow I head up to London to prepare. On Tuesday the House will reconvene and reelect the Speaker. Then MP’s will be sworn in over two days before the Queen is brought back to parliament on Thursday for another Queen’s Speech, her second in three months.
Then on Friday the Brexit Withdrawal Bill will be rammed through it’s second reading in just a few hours – this time there will be almost no debate, no tension, and chance of delivering a consensus that takes into account the concerns people have with this Brexit deal, simply because Boris Johnson now has a solid majority.
If you didn’t then, I hope you can see now why I voted against having this general election!
I don’t want to sound downbeat even though the new reality is really tough. This is going to be a difficult time for our country but I can promise you I will be fighting with more passion and energy than ever before. And now I’m more experienced at the job I know I must put it to use as best I can whilst still grabbing every opportunity to learn and get better.
And don’t worry – as always I’ll be keeping you updated on what’s happening and will always be here to listen, learn, and explain myself every step of the way. So once again….thank you for putting your trust in me. I know it was a big deal and I’ll do everything I can to make you proud of your choice.