My re-election statement
For St George members – Monday 21st, 7pm, St George Labour Club, 326A Church Road, St. George BS5 8AJ.
For Eastville, Frome Vale and Hillfields members – Monday 21st, 7.30pm, All Saints Link Room, All Saints Parish Church, Grove Road, BS16 2BW.
Kerry McCarthy – Statement in support of Re-selection
Representing Bristol East
It has been a privilege to represent Bristol East constituency as the Labour Member of Parliament for the past 14 years. I am now seeking your endorsement to stand again in the next General Election – which may be upon us before we know it!
When I first fought the seat in 2005, I was selected late in the day and it’s fair to say we ran something of a shoestring campaign. I will always be particularly grateful to the small bunch of activists from back then, some of whom are still involved in Bristol East to this day.
Since then we’ve become much stronger as a campaigning party, and the 2017 election saw hundreds of party members and supporters out on the streets. The result was the highest Labour vote and the highest Labour vote share, at 60.7%, in modern times.
Bristol East Labour Party has always done things its own way – dating back to the days when, under previous boundaries, Stafford Cripps and Tony Benn were the MP – and I am really proud that we have a party where differences of opinion are tolerated, and debates are had in a constructive, comradely manner.
At a time when politics is so divisive, the public discourse so angry, and when so many MPs – including myself – have been subjected to abuse and even death threats, having a supportive local party is something I really appreciate.
My work as your MP
I’ve always combined being active in the Commons, in a variety of roles over the years, with endeavouring to be a really good constituency MP too. My speaking record in Parliament is “well above average” as is my record on tabling parliamentary questions.
To give just a flavour of my work in Parliament, in the two weeks since prorogation was revoked, I’ve spoken in the Chamber on: the need for regulation of the supported housing sector (following deaths at Wick House in Brislington); a young constituent’s need for Sprinraza, a life-saving drug; the shocking fall in rape prosecution rates; climate change in developing countries; rail travel for passengers with disabilities; the danger of pesticides; deforestation in the Amazon; and of course, Brexit.
I am the only MP to serve on both environmental select committees – Environmental Audit, and Environment Food and Rural Affairs – and was nominated earlier this year as the Greenest MP. I chair two active and effective All-Party Parliamentary Groups, one on Agroecology for Sustainable Food and Farming, and the other on Food Waste, and am an officer of a dozen or so more.
One of the things I am most proud of is my role in setting up Feeding Bristol, which aims to eradicate food poverty in the city. This summer during the long school holidays we managed to provide 70,000 free meals to children who may otherwise have gone hungry, because they weren’t getting free school meals.
A really important part of my work as an MP is what I can do for individual constituents who approach me for help; they are often in despair, with nowhere else to turn to. My team and I have managed to recover thousands of pounds in unpaid benefits for constituents, help them get rehoused, sort out immigration issues, access mental health services, resolve debt issues, and much more. I hold regular surgeries, and deal with hundreds of cases each year. It’s particularly rewarding when I’m out and about in the constituency to meet people who we helped many years earlier, and to see how their lives are back on track.
Constituents also want to know what I think about policy matters, and I keep thousands of them informed each month through my e-newsletters, Facebook, my website and Twitter.
Obviously this is particularly true when it comes to Brexit. I believe that the strong stance I have taken will be crucial when it comes to the election, in making sure Remain voters do not desert us for the smaller parties. In 2017, with the support of “Greens for Kerry”, we managed to squeeze the Green and Lib Dem vote to the extent they both lost their deposit; we will need to do this again.
I have been a Labour and trade union member for nearly 30 years and have never known such political instability as we are witnessing now. Boris Johnson no longer has a majority in Parliament. We have to be prepared for a General Election to come at any time, possibly this November or December.
I don’t think anyone can predict what the outcome of that election will be. We know it is likely to be tough, and the conversations we will have with voters, challenging the Tory record of austerity, inequality and injustice, highlighting our Labour policies, and talking them through the arguments on Brexit, will be crucial.
I hope you will support me to fight that election as your Labour candidate, trading on my strong local record and my work in Parliament over the past 14 years.
I am looking forward to us working together as a team: taking the fight to the Tories, going all out to get a Labour Government, and making sure Bristol East stays Labour!