What a difference an election campaign can make. In two months we’ve gone from the very real threat of a Tory landslide to a Government barely able to hold itself together. Strong and stable turned out to be weak and wobbly.
For my part, I am honoured and humbled to have been returned as Blaenau Gwent’s MP. From the leadership down, the Labour campaign inspired people and offered an alternative to crushing austerity.
Week by week you could feel the support rise on the doorstep. During the campaign I argued we need as many Labour MPs as possible to make a difference in Parliament. Just the past two weeks have proven that argument resoundingly. Theresa May has already dropped flagship commitments made during the election campaign.
From social care to grammar schools, from cuts to Winter Fuel Payments to attacks on pensions, policies have been scrapped because she cannot get them through Parliament. These changes were only possible because people in places like Blaenau Gwent voted Labour.
Now it is up to myself and my colleagues across Britain to provide the opposition this country needs.
To keep blunting or overturning Tory policies that attack ordinary people, or benefit the few at the expense of the many, in the weeks and months ahead. As well as being part of the Labour opposition in Parliament, there is also a job of work to be done to make sure Blaenau Gwent’s voice is heard.
This is important as Brexit looms and core questions are asked about how our country works.
In Blaenau Gwent, we have been on the receiving end of EU support for many years.
It has been instrumental in so many of our public developments. Between 2006 and 2016, it has been credited with creating 310 new businesses in Blaenau Gwent.
This is why the question of future funding is fundamental.
It’s not just about the roads, schools and hospitals it has helped build – though that’s a massive part.
It’s the business support and job creation too. We have to make sure that these funding streams aren’t allowed to dry up as part of Brexit.
A vital part of these talks has to involve Britain ensuring places like Blaenau Gwent get the support it needs, and I’ll be shouting the odds to make sure we’re not forgotten.