This is my first column as your new MP; I would like to begin by thanking everyone who supported me with their votes, and the team of enthusiastic, warm-hearted people who worked with me to spread Labour’s message of hope and change to every corner of the city, writes new MP Fiona Onasanya.
I’d also like to address those who didn’t vote for me, and may be bewildered or indeed upset that the result turned out the way it did. I am your Member of Parliament too. We share a common home, and thus a common destiny: although I am proud to be a Labour MP, my purpose is not party political. Rather, I will work for all of you to make Peterborough the best place it can possibly be to live, work, and raise a family.
With an open heart and mind, I extend to you an open hand and say: “Let’s work together”.
The life of a new MP begins at the count. When I arrived at the East of England Arena late on Thursday night, I was excited. The team and I teetered on the edge of hope. We had met so many people on the doorstep and had great and enlightening discussions; both my hope and passion to make a difference in people’s lives rose with each encounter.
As the writer Dan Zadra has stated, “worry is a misuse of the imagination”: so I didn’t allow myself to fret. I believe some in the team did that for me! The ballots came in. We waited. The efficient and diligent counters sorted them into piles, putting them into colour coded trays and bundling them with bright steel paper clips. Wards recorded their tallies. They passed onto the information to the returning officer. After some discussion, the result was ready to be revealed.
As I took my place on the podium, there was a moment to think about the past, present and future.
I remembered the launch at Peterborough’s Central Park, and the cheering activists who stood with me. I recalled grey evenings spent talking to mothers on the doorstep about their worries for the future. I thought about meetings with my team discussing how we could do more. All that had led to this point, when the numbers would be read out, and victory was certain.
And tomorrow? Then, the real work of change would begin.
It was with these thoughts in mind, and full of hope, that I gave a brief speech.
I was then followed by my predecessor. I thank Mr. Jackson for his gracious and courteous concession, and I wish him and his family well in the future.
I look forward to using this column in the coming weeks to report to you, the people of Peterborough, the progress of change for which you voted.