Whether to throw my hat into the ring for selection as Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate in Harlow?
Theresa May has announced there is going to be a general election on the 8th June – despite saying many times she would not as it would cause instability – clearly swayed by the siren calls of the national opinion polls – and her internal party management problems rather than the best interests of the country.
Since then, I have received many texts, calls, emails, asking me if I am standing in the parliamentary election.
I have never been a career politician – unlike the sitting MP, my life has been in the real world, earning a living, looking after my family, representing my community – so for me, standing for Parliament must satisfy a few tests.
Of course, I need to balance the needs of my family and personal life, which is already consumed by my political and civic duties – as well as a demanding full-time day job.
But I have also to ask myself the question – could I do more as an MP, in terms of making a positive and visible difference to Harlow, than I can as a Councillor and Leader of the Council?
I am proud of my record – in taking decisive action on Travellers, on Street Lights, on creating a company to deliver housing landscape maintenance and rationalising senior management to save taxpayers money, my role in ensuring that Harlow Council was the first Living Wage council in Essex, and of course fighting for the investment in infrastructure, our hospital, and jobs, that Harlow needs.
After a great deal of thought, and talking to friends and colleagues, I have decided that I can do more good in my current role, continuing to fight for the town I love and am extremely proud of, as a local councillor, and for as long as the people of Harlow, and party colleagues wish me to continue, as Leader of the Council. I don’t completely discount the possibility of my considering it again in the future, but at this pivotal time in Harlow’s history, now is not the right time to put my name forward to be considered as Labour’s candidate in the General Election.
There are many other talented potential Labour candidates who will put their name forward, and any one of them would take the fight to our sitting MP, and hold him to account for his voting record, and make an excellent representative of Harlow in Westminster. The Labour Council has made a positive, visible difference to Harlow and will continue to do so – a Labour Government would enable so much more in terms of investment in our NHS, our infrastructure, and fairness. I will do everything I can to make sure we get one.
I hope you will support our excellent candidates in the County Council elections on the 4th of May, and the General Election on the 8th of June. Both they and I will always work tirelessly to make Harlow a better place. I hope, I know, we share that vision.