I really enjoyed the General Election campaign.
It was great to be out and about back home in East Leeds for a full seven weeks, talking with – and listening to – local residents.
For me, the strangest thing about being an MP is having to divide the week between work in Parliament and work back home in East Leeds.
This could be solved (for me at least!) by re-locating Parliament half way between Leeds and Bradford. We are, after all, more or less slap bang in the middle of the UK!
Being out and about in our area, working and campaigning is the bit I enjoy most about being an MP.
In my election acceptance speech at Leeds Town Hall, after the East Leeds result had been announced, I said “you meet a better class of person in East Leeds than you do down in Parliament all too often”.
And that’s the truth.
There are of course many great MPs, but it’s still the case that too many people in Parliament think they’re the bees-knees when they’re not.
And too many people in East Leeds are told they’re not the bees-knees when they are.
In this election, I was proud to stand on Labour’s manifesto, For The Many – Not The Few.
It’s high time ‘The Many’ – not the privileged few – took back control.
Things in this country have been run in the interests of the privileged few for far too long.
People, families, small businesses and public services are being held back and that’s making people in our area angry.
This justifiable anger was one of the reasons I was re-elected with the biggest Labour vote in East Leeds since 1979 – the year before I was born!
During the General Election, it was great to meet so many people enthusiastic about voting for the first time.
And that wasn’t just people who have recently become old enough to vote.
During the campaign I met plenty of people who previously thought there was no point in voting because “you’re all the same”.
This General Election showed that we’re not “all the same”. There was a big choice facing the UK and people here in East Leeds. That led to a higher turnout, which is good for democracy.
Last week, as Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, I attended the first Shadow Cabinet meeting since the General Election.
And, as I write this, I’m about to hold my first advice session since the General Election for East Leeds residents needing my help or assistance or just wanting to share their views with me.
There’s never a dull moment as an MP.
And I couldn’t be prouder to represent the people I represent.