My re-election speech

It was a privilege to be re-elected to serve our community last Thursday on what was, unfortunately, a truly terrible night for Labour.

Below is the speech I delivered after the declaration of the result in Newcastle North. It was one of the first results to be announced, but it was already clear from the exit poll and the results that had come in that this was going to be a devastating defeat for the Labour Party nationally.

Nonetheless, I am pleased to be back at work, fighting for the people of Newcastle North and holding this Government to account. We do not yet have confirmation of Parliamentary business for the rest of the year, but it looks likely that this Tuesday and Wednesday will be taken up by the ‘swearing in’ of MPs, a new Queen’s Speech delivered on Thursday and votes taken on both the Queen’s Speech and the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill on Friday.

I will work tirelessly to hold this Tory Government to account and give us the credible alternative Labour opposition and Government we so desperately need.

“An enormous thank you from the bottom of my heart to the people of Newcastle North for putting your faith in me once again to represent you in Parliament.

I know this election has not been easy for anyone, and not just because of the freezing and soaking weather.

So many voters have been undecided about how to vote.

They’ve been put in a position of choosing between their party loyalty, their hopes for the future, their views on Brexit, and their support for me as their local champion.

What a position to put the British public in.

The voters have been incredibly kind and courteous on the doorsteps, despite their frustration with our current political situation.

We have a country that has been brought to its knees by public service budget cuts and Brexit chaos, caused by successive Tory Government’s and their longstanding internal battle over our membership of the EU with no plan for how to actually deliver on it.

Yet, despite inflicting an almighty mess on this country over the last 9 years, the exit poll tonight indicates, and it is early days, but it indicates that, the Conservatives will be returning to Government with a significant majority to deliver one of the hardest of Brexits – and Labour is facing its fourth electoral defeat.

The sick, disabled, hungry, homeless and those living in poverty – they need a Labour Government. Those who want a fairer more equal society that invests in our schools, hospitals, youth services and police – they need a Labour Government. Those who believe in an open and outward looking country that not only plays by the rules but helps to make them – they need a Labour Government.

Yet it looks like the country does not have sufficient confidence in the Labour Party at this moment to deliver that change.

The voters throughout this election, doorstep after doorstep, made it clear that they do not have confidence in the leadership of the Labour Party to deliver that change.

Whatever the final result tonight, it’s absolutely clear that the Labour Party has to change. We need a new direction.

And I pledge tonight to work tirelessly to help deliver that change so that we can be that credible alternative – opposition to this destructive Tory Government that has inflicted so much hardship on my constituents. This is my pledge to you.

I want to end by thanking the returning officer and all the amazing election staff and agents who have kept Newcastle on the map when it comes to delivering efficient and speedy and fair elections. I want to thank the police and other agencies for keeping us all safe.

I want to thank my opponents in this election for what has been on the whole a respectful campaign.

I want to thank my agent Dan Greenhough and my amazing campaign team – who have spent hours and hours volunteering in the most horrendous weather conditions freezing conditions to return a Labour MP to Newcastle North – you are absolute heroes, all of you.

And last but in no way least – to my family – to my husband, my Mum and Dad who are at home looking after my children and my family who keep me going in this fight every day. Thank you very much”