Firstly, I would like to thank everybody who has supported me in standing as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Clacton: from friends both within and outside of the Labour Party who urged me to put myself forward, who had confidence in my principles and the strength of my conviction; to fellow members who gave me their backing throughout the selection process and believed that I was strong enough to stand up for what we all believe in, and who felt that I was a good enough candidate to represent our wonderful constituency in Parliament; to all of those who have been loyal and dedicated volunteers during this campaign - both those who are members of the party, and those who are not but who believe in what we are trying to do here - your commitment, dedication and hard work has been inspirational and I could not have done this without you.
I would also like to thank the thousands of residents in Clacton who trusted me enough to put their cross against my name on their ballot sheet. It has been an honour and a privilege to stand in this election and I am beyond grateful that so many people came out on polling day to show their support for the campaign that we have run and the policies that we have put forward.
I know many will be disappointed that Labour did not win a majority in Clacton or across the country, and I know that many will be looking ahead to the future under a Conservative-DUP ‘coalition of chaos’ with fear and anxiety in your hearts, but I want to take this moment to try to put forward a little bit of hope.
Hope is really what this campaign has been about. Against onslaughts of media smears and against the Tory narrative that ‘there is no alternative’ to austerity, and even against doubts from within our own party about the electability of a Labour Party that would be bold enough to put forward our manifesto for the many, we have done just that and our policies of hope and our call for change has been accepted with open arms. Political history was made on June 8th and we have moved the benchmarks for what can be defined as left or left-of-centre politics.
We must not be glum as we move forward. We, as a party and as a country, have laid the foundations for a future, which is truly fair for all, in which politics is there to serve the people, rather than the powerful. Theresa May called this election hoping to increase her majority, to receive the mandate that she wanted for her diabolical social care reforms, for scrapping free school meals, for continuing to cut our public services, for bringing back fox hunting, and for her reckless approach to Brexit. The people have refused to give her that mandate, and the Conservatives have lost their majority.
Meanwhile, against all the odds, in a general election that started with a seemingly impossible-to-bridge gap in polls between Corbyn’s Labour and May’s ‘strong and stable’ Conservative Party, Labour have gained 34 seats across the UK. The people have spoken, and they do not reject Corbyn’s Labour as ‘unelectable’; they do not reject Corbyn’s policies for the people as ‘impossible’; they have had enough of austerity politics, enough of a country run only for the few, and not for the many.
Jeremy Corbyn has been an inspiration to me throughout the course of this campaign. I have tried to be as approachable and accessible as possible. When people have tried to turn things personal, I have responded with dignity and civility; this campaign has been about policies, not personalities. I have followed Corbyn’s example and refused to engage in smears and personal insults. The Tories’ campaign relied too much on the latter, and fortunately for us all, I believe that has played a large part in their undoing.
This was always going to be a challenging election, but one thing is clear to us as we move forward: Labour has changed the debate in British politics, and Corbyn has solidified his rightful place as the leader of our party. We have put forward a detailed, costed manifesto with popular policies, reflecting the views of the majority in society and setting the Labour Party well apart from other political parties, giving comfort and inspiration to those previously-disillusioned members of the electorate who would usually have abstained from voting on the basis that all parties were the same. Throughout the course of this election campaign, Jeremy Corbyn has toured the country, and made countless appearances across all forms of media, and the more people have been exposed to the real Jeremy Corbyn - and not the twisted media misrepresentation of him - the more people have liked what they have seen.
I am heartened by the many MPs coming out and pledging their support for Corbyn; it takes a great quality of character to stand in the spotlight and admit, “I was wrong”. What Labour has achieved over the short 6 weeks of this snap-election is unbelievably exciting. Imagine what could have been achieved if the whole party had been united behind Corbyn from the day he was first elected, and now imagine what WILL be achieved, as we move forward in solidarity, as a reformed and unified party. I sincerely look forward to moving into this new era of British politics with you, as part of a Labour Party who is unashamedly standing up #ForTheMany, putting forward policies of hope, and opposing the Tories’ failed austerity politics, which benefit only the few.
Thank you again to everybody who voted for me, and to all who supported and volunteered in our campaign in Clacton. An 11% swing to the Labour Party was an unimaginable success at the start of this campaign, and it is due to the commitment and dedication of our volunteers and the brilliant, honest policies that we have been able to put forward under Corbyn’s leadership. I am excited to be moving forward as part of a Labour Party that has cemented its position as the party for the many, and I look forward to working with our members to continue to oppose austerity politics where they impact us at home in Clacton.
With warmest regards,
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