Obviously I’m disappointed about the election result because I would have loved to have served the people of Kettering Constituency as their MP, but the truth is I always knew what a huge challenge it would be to win and I am delighted to have increased the Labour vote by about 50%, from 11,8770 to 18,054.
That in itself was a massive success and I have been humbled by the support I received from all sorts of people. I had a superb team of volunteers from Kettering Labour Party who worked hard over the last few weeks but they were boosted by lots on non-party members who came out leafleting and knocking on doors for me.
I’d like to thank all of them for the effort they put in, and all of the people that put their faith in me by voting for me, many of them voting Labour for the first ever time. I have received messages of support from all sorts of people from across the political spectrum and I hope there is a lesson to all politicians from all parties, that if you want voters to support you, it is best done by actively trying to engage with them and listen to their concerns, which is what I have always tried to do - rather than take them for granted.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the campaign which has been an interesting and fascinating experience for me, and I am really pleased I put myself forward. It was a big potentially life changing decision, and I would like to particularly thank my family and friends, both old and new, for supporting me and allowing me to make it.
The next few weeks and months will be interesting politically and while there will be a lot of uncertainties, the election result has given us some clear messages. Firstly that more austerity may not be as popular as the Conservatives originally thought, and secondly that people - especially young people - are beginning to get politically active again and questioning things rather than take them at face value.
This all has to be a good sign nationally, but I would also hope locally, where for too long people have allowed the local Council make decisions about public services seemingly without paying much attention or without comment.