Can I start by thanking the Returning Officer and all the counting staff, it’s been a very, very long night, so thank you to you for all staying on to finish this job here today, thank you.
Let me start by saying to my political opponents in Westminster, congratulations.
And in particular to thank the other candidates, but to congratulate the new MP for Morley and Outwood, Andrea Jenkyns.
Andrea you have fought a really decent campaign and you’ve done so in a very good way and I know you will work really hard to be the Member of Parliament for Morley and Outwood and you’ll have the support of the constituency to do that very important job. So thank you for the way in which you have conducted this campaign.
I’d like to thank all my campaign team who have worked 7 days a week for 5 years and my agent Neil Dawson and all of the team. It’s the best campaign team and I’m hugely grateful, and I’m just sorry we couldn’t quite do enough to repeat what we did in 2010.
It’s been a great honour to be the Member of Parliament for Morley and Outwood and before that for Normanton. I have found it a great privilege and we have done some important things to represent individuals in times of difficulty or hardship, but also to make advances in this constituency and in Westminster.
Any personal disappointment I have at this result, is as nothing compared to the sense of sorrow I have at the result that Labour has achieved across the United Kingdom tonight, in Scotland, but also in England and in Wales and the sense of concern I have about the future.
We will now face 5 years where questions will arise about the future of our Union. About whether or not we can stay as a member of the European Union and fight for jobs and investment. Whether we can make sure we secure our National Health Service at a time of public spending cuts. Those are real concerns to me and to many people across the United Kingdom.
Even on this very difficult night I would just like to say, I’ve been proud to be a Labour and Cooperative Member of Parliament. We have always been a party which has been internationalist, because we believe we solve problems by working with other countries to solve them. We’ve always been a party which believed in the Union, because the pooling and sharing of risk which comes with our Union underpins justice and fairness. We’ve always been the party who founded the National Health Service and will do everything we can to secure the future of the National Health Service.
Even on this difficult night, I’m sure the Labour Party will emerge in the coming weeks and months, more united and more determined. And in the next few years, I think more than ever, we will need in Parliament and across the country a Labour Party absolutely determined to stand up for working people in this constituency and in our country.
I’m confident Labour will be back. Thank you very much.