Last week was my first full week in Westminster as your Member of Parliament. I was welcomed by a cohort of Labour MPs and am quickly finding my feet in what they call the ‘corridors of power,’ writes Peterborough MP Lisa Forbes.
Although as far as I’m concerned, the streets of Peterborough are the real corridors of power – and I am simply your representative.
Like any new job, the hardest part of my first week was simply getting used to my new surroundings, responsibilities and having numerous different parliamentary authorities tell me about protocol and the way things work.
The first day was just that! For those who haven’t been before, it’s very easy to get lost in the miles of corridors. For me, Parliament was somewhat of a culture shock upon arrival, but I have received plenty of well-wishes and congratulations from colleagues of all political persuasions.
And now the real work is beginning after my introductory week, I can focus my mind on standing up for the people of Peterborough, like I was elected to do.
I am under no illusion about the importance of this task. We are in desperate need of investment and renewal and I was elected on a platform of standing up for the city and fighting for our public services.
This is why I have already been in contact with Peterborough City Council to discuss how we can work together moving forward. As many will know, the council is currently Conservative-led, but is itself becoming increasingly frustrated with the austerity imposed by the national Conservative government.
Our schools, our police forces, our social care system and other public services are being seriously damaged by the cuts imposed by this government. You have just elected me as your Member of Parliament, and by doing so, voted for cleaner streets, safer communities and schools to be proud of.
The question is: will the Council stand with me in fighting for a better deal for Peterborough?
I also attended my first PMQs last week. The Labour Party focused on the lack of industrial strategy being put forward by the government. With around 9,000 jobs and over 300 companies encompassing our diverse manufacturing sector, it was shocking to hear that there are around 150,000 fewer people in manufacturing nationally since 2016.
I am keen to stand up for Peterborough’s key industries in the face of this government’s botched Brexit negotiations, and work with them on the ambition of a future Labour government: to implement a comprehensive industrial strategy that delivers growth and jobs to towns and cities up and down the country.
While numerous Tory MPs are bickering and backstabbing amongst themselves, desperately trying to be appointed (not elected) Prime Minister – the Labour Party is focused on shaping a vision based on shared prosperity, democratic public control of key services and a policy agenda that will help cities like Peterborough unlock their full potential. I am looking forward to being a part of that process in the weeks and months to come.