Congratulations go to all those people elected to the City Council last week in the first “all out” elections since 2004. I played my own limited role in getting some of them elected. I was particularly pleased to have helped re-elect my friend, neighbour and current Mayor John Peach and I know that Park ward will be in good hands for the next few years. It was a close result but his hard work and longstanding dedication to the area paid off.
Having fought five General Elections, I also know how disappointing it is to lose an election, especially when you’ve worked hard and given it your maximum emotional and physical energy and commitment. It’s natural to take defeat as a personal slight (at least in the first instance) but it’s invariably the collective political will of the people, rather than a case of singling out individuals and many who are beaten at first, are tenacious and resilient, re-focus their efforts and end up being elected and being exemplary councillors.
It’s true of course that the voters are never wrong.
Well done too to the dynamic duo – Cllrs John Holdich and Wayne Fitzgerald – re-elected by the Conservative Group as Leader and Deputy Leader respectively. Many MPs have a very loose relationship with their local councils but I’m not one of them. I owe it to my constituents to hold their councillors to account – to praise and support, to lobby for them with Ministers and to criticise where appropriate and although I’ve had a few bust ups with John Holdich, we have a mutual respect borne of a long term focus on improving Peterborough and putting it on the map.
As it happens, Peterborough was the only Conservative council gain of the night and as such, I was pleased to welcome the Prime Minister to help us celebrate at the Conservative Club on a beautiful early summer morning. We had a great discussion on our vision for the city: Better quality homes, more jobs and new businesses, extra apprenticeships, improving school standards, regeneration at Fletton Quays and the pressures put on public services by uncontrolled EU immigration. We even agreed not to debate the European Union referendum on June 23rd but he did tip me off about the Government’s u-turn on compulsory academisation, after I had raised very significant concerns about the local impact of the policy. Good sense has now prevailed however. He even sympathised with John Holdich at having a small majority, as it leaves you open to the demands of “difficult” colleagues.
I don’t know who he could mean?
Well, all’s well that ends well. Political power is a trust, granted temporarily. No vanity projects, no grandstanding – the challenge for the new administration is to govern our area quietly, competently and with a vision based on core Conservative principles.
Telegraph readers will be watching closely as will I.