So the Prime Minister has announced it: there’s going to be a snap General Election for Thursday 8th June. This will be the fifth time I have contested the Peterborough seat but nonetheless each and every occasion, for any candidate putting themselves forward, a General Election is an incredibly stressful and unpredictable time.
It is nonetheless entirely worth it. Who would want to do any other job? Here’s why.
Since 2005 I have had the privilege of representing the voters of the Peterborough constituency. I will never stop enjoying the thrill and responsibilities and the variety of such an important public role.
People may not agree with me all the time, but sometimes as an MP I must represent constituents who feel they are not being listened to or whose voices are not strong or loud enough to stand up for the issues that matter to them. Other times, it’s less contentious.
It’s great to be an MP in the heart of the community, helping to empower local people to make a difference and work together to make our city a better place. Only recently I went to the opening of two great community projects: Peterborough Community Radio (103.2FM) in the Ortons and the WestRaven Community Café at Hampton Court, Westwood. It shows people power is all too often bottom up and not always top down!
The radio station is a fantastic resource for giving Peterborough a radio station for the city. The concept of a community radio station, including securing a full time community radio licence for Peterborough from OFCOM is something I have tried to help with for many years. It’s a great way of beating the media drum for Peterborough and giving the city something it can uniquely call its own. Unlike other media outlets which cover Cambridgeshire, where Peterborough far too often is the poor relation in focus, reporting and resources, we now have a radio station that specifically serves our city. A fantastic thing and congratulations to all the volunteers who have worked so hard to secure it.
The WestRaven community café is another more local project to unite the community and bring local people together; helping tackle isolation and loneliness whilst providing great tasting food and drink at incredibly affordable prices. It was something I had the pleasure of attending and meeting the dedicated volunteers working with the Big Local charity and Cross Keys Homes and who worked so hard to bring it all together.
Seeing these fantastic projects, watching them come together and doing whatever I can to support them along the way is ultimately why I will be re-standing for election on June 8.