The weather this spring has been a bit of a disappointment, I really hope June brings with it some sun and warmth! However, throughout April and May - through gusting wind, wet snow, freezing hail, pouring rain and only the occasional beam of warm sunlight - many people representing different political parties, and indeed none, battled the elements in order to see democracy carried out, and to give voters choices about the future of their communities.
I offer my huge congratulations to all those who put themselves forward for election at the beginning of May, of whatever political party and in whatever local division their name appeared on the ballot paper. Elections matter, voters matter and the result matters.
Right across the North East there were some startling results on election night – most notably in the Hartlepool parliamentary by-election where a Conservative MP was elected for the first time since the seat was created in the 1970s. Also, in the Tees Valley, where the Conservative Mayor Ben Houchen was re-elected securing a staggering 73% of the vote. Here in Northumberland we saw our own political earthquake, with Conservatives gaining a number of seats in the south east of the county and I am absolutely delighted that through the ebb and flow of election night, here in Northumberland the Conservatives emerged with a majority, taking outright control of the county council for the first time in a long time.
But as good as it feels when your team is doing well and winning, what really matters in politics is delivering a better future for our area and for local people. So much has already been achieved by Northumberland Conservatives over the past four years – we see a new train line opening from Ashington and Blyth to Newcastle; we see massive inward investment with the Britishvolt Factory; we see new school buildings being built right along the length of the Tyne Valley and in Ponteland; there is also a new era in super-fast broadband on the way for our county and significant extra funding being delivered for key Northumberland projects through the Borderlands Initiative. These successes are not vague campaign wishes, they are things that have been secured and will mean more jobs, better connected communities, improved quality of life and more opportunities for children and young people emerging from our excellent schools. Yes, it’s great to win elections - but delivering for local people is what really matters, and I think the future is looking bright for our wonderful county.
MP for Hexham