The election is finally done and I need to say a huge thank you.
It is a real honour to be re-elected as MP for Normanton, Pontefract, Castleford and Knottingley - I am really grateful for all the support I’ve had. It’s also been great to see more Labour MPs elected across West Yorkshire and to see so many young people turn out to vote.
When Theresa May called this election, she wanted a landslide. Instead she got a hung parliament. So she can’t just carry on as if the election never happened.
For a start the Conservative Party has no mandate to go ahead with the outrageous planned cuts to our local schools budget. I shall be keeping up the campaign to stop the government taking £20 million from Wakefield District schools just to give more to Tory Buckinghamshire next year. It’s not fair and our children deserve better.
Although the political rows will continue, there are some things on which I hope we will all agree. All parties, all communities, all faiths, all corners of the country have come together to condemn the recent vile terrorist attacks and to pledge to stand together against extremists who seek to divide us.
In the last three months we’ve seen terrorist attacks on tourists and police in Westminster, children and parents at a pop concert in Manchester, young people on a night out by London Bridge, and British Muslims leaving peaceful worship in Finsbury Park.
Extremists of all kinds - be they Islamist extremists or far right and neo-Nazi extremists - all try to spread hatred and violence, and we can’t ever let this vile minority win against the overwhelming majority of decent people in this country.
That’s why we should support our police and emergency services.
We’ve seen some extraordinary bravery from them and from members of the public too. But they need much more support as they are stretched, not just with terror attacks but with things like the shocking Grenfell fire where a criminal investigation as well as fire recovery work is rightly underway.
I believe we urgently need more police on our streets all across the country. I’ve also been campaigning for months to get YouTube and Facebook to take down vile extremist propaganda as we need to stop people being radicalised.
We also need to show how our values are stronger than theirs.
Last weekend, all over the country people joined in the Great Get Together to mark the anniversary of the murder of Jo Cox by a far right extremist in Batley.
On Heath Common, at Queen’s Mill in Castleford, in Darrington, in Wakefield, communities came together - all faiths and none - to show that as Jo said: “We have more in common than that which divides us.”
While these horrible attacks have shown the worst of humanity, the strength, generosity and bravery of the public response has shown the best of humanity.
That’s why I know in Britain, extremists will never win.