Worcester’s MP Robin Walker, who was re-elected last Thursday, with more than twenty two thousand votes and an almost doubled majority of 5,646, has arrived in Westminster to take his place in Parliament.
He attended the first meeting of the backbench 1922 Committee after the election, at which 330 Conservative MPs welcomed the Prime Minister David Cameron to his first gathering of the Conservatives as the majority party in Government. Nationally the Conservative party won more than 11 million votes, the highest vote for any party since 1997 and secured a majority which few pundits or pollsters had believed possible. In Worcestershire the party won all six seats with increased majorities.
In this year’s General Election, the Conservative vote in Worcester increased to its highest level since 1992 and the highest level it has ever achieved since the current boundaries were set. At 22,534 it was the most votes for any candidate in Worcester since Mike Foster won the seat in Tony Blair’s landslide election victory of 1997. At the same time the Conservative party won a resounding victory in the local elections, taking back full control of Worcester City Council for the first time since 2011.
In his acceptance speech Robin thanked the count staff and the City Council workers who delivered a successful count at St Johns Sports Centre as well as the team of activists and volunteers who had worked so hard to get him elected. Robin also praised his opponents for fighting a clean campaign and said that he had learned something from each of them.
He has today set out how, after more than 24 different hustings debates, he will take on board issues that each candidate raised and ensure they are taken up in Parliament:
He praised Joy Squires the Labour candidate, who secured 16,888 votes, for highlighting the issue of making work pay and the need for higher wages, promising to press for better wages in general and a living wage where possible. He also congratulated Joy on fighting a largely positive campaign which saw Labour’s vote in the city rise by more than 500.
He welcomed the drive to improve relations with the Commonwealth by James Goad, the UKIP candidate, who won over 6,000 votes and promised to continue working on this as part of the APPG for the Commonwealth as well as to deliver the referendum on the EU for which he voted in 2011.
Robin highlighted the strong arguments made by Louis Stephen, the Green candidate for making better use of space above shops for flats and housing and delivering more affordable housing without building on greenfield land and has promised to press for this in Parliament.
He particularly welcomed the emphasis placed on mental health in the Liberal Democrat campaign and congratulated Federica Smith, who secured 1,677 votes for the Lib Dems, for raising this and the need to keep increasing the threshold on income tax, both of which he supports taking forward.
Robin also commended Pete McNally for his passion in making the case on behalf of the Trade Unionists & Socialists and promised to engage with and listen to members of the Trade Union movement in Worcester over the next five years.
Finally, he congratulated Mark Shuker, the Independent candidate for the way in which he highlighted the need for more industrial jobs in Worcester. Robin has consistently backed the growth of apprenticeships and backed the growth of local engineering businesses such as Aeromet, which he visited with the Minister for Business during the course of his campaign.
Robin has undertaken to take on board these suggestions from each of the Worcester candidates alongside the priorities that he had already set out in his campaign:
In his first day back in Westminster he has already raised the need for faster journey times on the Cotswold Line from Worcester to London, the dualling of the Carrington Bridge and the need for an upgrade to the A&E at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital with key colleagues. He has also started to contact newly elected Members of Parliament to recruit them for his cross party campaign on fairer funding for local schools.
Commenting on the election results and his priorities Robin said:
“I was honoured and delighted with the local result and the national result in these elections was even better than I had dared to hope. It is hugely exciting to be coming back to Westminster as part of the first Conservative majority Government since I was fourteen years old and to be working on delivering a positive manifesto to secure the recovery across our country. It is a huge honour to have won the support of so many people in Worcester and I take very seriously my obligation to represent not only all those people who voted for me but also all the people in Worcester who did not. It has been good to hear the Prime Minister talking about a One Nation Government and I believe that this is exactly what people in Worcester want to see.”
“Worcester is a wonderful place and in recent years it has been getting better. I am looking forward to supporting further improvements. I want to see more jobs, more apprenticeships, more investment in our infrastructure, our schools and our NHS. I also want to see wages rising, more manufacturing and better help and support for some of the most vulnerable people such as those suffering from mental health problems. I will continue to listen to constituents no matter what their political beliefs and I will continue to hold regular surgeries to help people with problems. I will also continue to seek consensus on issues in Parliament and to work with MPs of all parties to get things done.”
“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted in Worcester on May 7th, contributing to the highest turnout for years and beating the national trend for turnout. I want to thank the amazing volunteers and activists who made my campaign possible and all the people who gave so freely of their time and energy to make it such as success. I thank all the candidates in Worcester for the positive way in which they made their arguments and the civilised nature of the many debates that we had. I have listened and I will act on the issues that they and other constituents have raised. Serving as Worcester’s MP has been the greatest honour I could imagine and I am looking forward to doing so over the coming years.”