I am humbled and honoured to have been re-elected to represent Chadderton, Oldham and Royton in Parliament.
I must admit that a December election, and my third parliamentary election in four years wasn’t top of my Christmas wish list, but I found it hugely enjoyable and it reinforced why I came into politics; for our town and it’s people.
The campaign was intense and although it’s common to hear comments that Labour was certain to win in Oldham, that isn’t reflected in the campaign. We take nothing for granted and as the results elsewhere show no seat can be considered ‘safe’, and that is the right approach.
While our main opposition did very little campaigning, and failed to attend any of the four hustings, we were out solidly over six weeks in all weathers speaking to thousands of voters, in addition to mass of printed material!
Some of the election was particularly divisive and far beyond anything I’ve experienced previously. It is not right that a democratic process can be filled with lies and misleading attacks. Whatever our differing political views we must be free to conduct the election campaign without intimidation.
I don’t know how you voted unless you’ve let us know while we were out canvassing during the campaign, but that isn’t really the point in this post.
The last few years have been hugely divisive for our country and politics has reflected this starkly. Regardless of how you voted I wanted you to know that I intend to play my part in repairing our fragile nation. That won’t be easy, often regardless of the intent of individual MPs we are judged together.
My main priority will be ensuring that the support my local office provides continues. If you need help or advice please feel able to get in touch.
We’ve dealt with over 30,000 casework and lobbies in just four years and while we don’t always get the result we want, we work hard to give you sound advice and guidance.
Many of the people we met on the campaign trail had been in contact with my office over the past four years. I am incredibly fortunate to have a dedicated and experienced team who support local people.
As we return to parliament there is a real job of work to do, not least of all in receiving the Local Government and Police settlements (budget allocations). Both are essential for funding local public services.
And of course parliament will debate the EU Withdrawal Agreement, which could be tabled before Christmas.
We will also soon embark on the leadership and deputy leadership contest in the Labour Party which is expected to run from January to March, with both successful candidates being in post before the local and mayoral elections in May.
We campaigned with hard work and dedication. The result was a reflection of that, and of course the support offered by local people. I want you to know that it isn’t taken for granted, and I intend to do all I can to meet the responsibilities that have been entrusted with me.
To our members and supporters who campaigned over the six weeks I want to say thank you. As with all campaigns there were some fantastic moments which will stay with me forever.