Happy New Year to you all! I hope that you managed to have a good break over Christmas, whether it was a hectic time catching up with family and friends, or a more peaceful opportunity to recharge after a difficult year.
2024 will undoubtedly be a year of political change. Even Brenda from Bristol (of “not another one!” fame) would probably agree that it’s time for a General Election. It’s been four years since we last went to the polls, and we’re now on our third Prime Minister. Most of us have lost count of how many Chancellors, Education Secretaries and Housing Ministers we’ve had. (If you guessed five, six and seven, well done! Now try and name them…)
From the sewage on our beaches and in our rivers, to the PPE corruption scandal, the Tories are wallowing in a mess of their own making. It will be up to a future Labour Government to clear it up. We are by no means complacent about the next General Election – and we don’t even know yet when it will be – but we are determined to give it our all, as Keir Starmer set out in his New Year message, it’s time to get Britain’s future back. Full video here.
If you’d like to be part of our campaign for change, Join the Labour Party today!
While we don’t have a date for the General Election, we do know for definite that we’ll have all-out elections for Bristol City Council on 2nd May 2024. Wherever you live in the city you’ll be voting for councillors to represent you at City Hall. We will also be voting for an Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner on the same day. It’s really important to exercise your democratic right to have a say in how our city is run. You can register to vote here, if you haven’t already done so.
Marvin Rees will be standing down as Mayor of Bristol after eight years. From Covid to Colston to climate change, he’s shown initiative, integrity and true leadership. I’m pleased to see this recognised in the New Year’s Honours. I’ve been reading his blog this week as a reminder of the progress the city has made, and the challenges the Council still faces.
From May, the Council will be returning to a committee-led, rather than a mayoral, system. I do have serious misgivings about this. As I said at the time of the referendum there’s a risk it will lead to poor and drawn-out decision-making, with a lack of strategic leadership and less accountability. But it is now in everyone’s interest, regardless of political affiliation, to try to make the new system work.
As for the General Election, all we know is that it must come by January 2025. No-one really thinks that Rishi Sunak will leave it quite as late as that, but it’s generally seen as more likely to take place in the autumn than in May. It’s entirely the Prime Minister’s decision.
I will be standing again for Labour in Bristol East, after what will be 19 years as the MP; it really doesn’t seem like that long! Boundary changes will, however, mean that it’s not quite the same seat as before. (We have boundary reviews every ten years or so, to try to ensure that all constituencies have roughly the same number of electors). I‘ve posted a map of the new constituency below, showing Easton, Lawrence Hill and Knowle being added and the wards of Eastville, Frome Vale and Hillfields going into the new seat of Bristol North East.
Just to be clear though: the boundary changes don’t come into force until the General Election. I am absolutely committed to serving all the people of Bristol East, on its current boundaries, until then.
You can read about my work for the constituency during 2023 in my newsletters: https://www.kerrymccarthy.org/my-newsletters/and sign up here to receive them in future, if you’re not already on my mailing list.
I’m sure the coming year will be just as busy, and I’ll do my best to keep you informed about my work for Bristol East and what’s going on in Westminster. For now, once again – Happy New Year!