After five long years of campaigning, and over ten thousand doorstep conversations, in the early hours of Friday 8th May I was honoured and delighted to find myself elected to represent the people of Burnley and Padiham, as their new Labour Member of Parliament.
Just 3 days later, with little time to catch my breath, I found myself heading off by train, early on Monday morning to Westminster, to begin the London-based part of my role. I must admit that there were a few ‘first day nerves’ mingled with the excitement as I walked across the bridge at Westminster, manoeuvring my way through the busy London traffic. Once I had finally entered the magnificent palace however, the nerves gave way to a great sense of optimism and anticipation about the opportunities that lay ahead.
Officially the first 3 days for a new MP are set aside for ‘induction’ a mammoth process involving mountains of forms, checks and security procedures. I must say however that the Westminster staff could not have been more approachable and helpful so, with their support, the process was eventually completed and I am raring to go!
I have already met and made useful contacts with many other new MPs from all parties (several of them whilst they were wandering through the maze of corridors, clutching maps - something of a challenge I must admit!) alongside well-known Parliamentarians such as Dennis Skinner and John Prescott.
My first experience of sitting in the chamber overwhelmed me with a sense of history and pride in the democratic process of our country. However I am mindful that the next five years will bring many challenges alongside the excitement. The Conservative Government have already declared their intention to continue the cuts to public funding, local services and welfare. These cuts will undoubtedly hurt the people of this town, with the most vulnerable hit hardest of all. I know that the people of Burnley and Padiham need me to quickly find my feet in order that I can hold this Government to account and fight their corner at every opportunity. Let me assure you; I am up for the fight!
My Burnley based team and I are already busy setting up a constituency office and details of this and MP surgeries will follow very shortly. In the meantime, you can contact me by email at Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org