Like nearly everyone else in the world of politics, I was taken by surprise when Theresa May announced the snap General Election from the steps of Downing Street. She and her spokespeople had repeatedly said there would not be an early election and she claims to be a woman who sticks to her promises - something that is now clearly questionable and makes me wonder whether they will stand by anything else she promises, including the forthcoming Tory manifesto.
This is what should be at the forefront of people's minds for the election taking place on 8th June. Labour was right to vote for the election to happen – this is our opportunity to take our arguments to the country and return a Labour Government. It is clear that this is one of the final opportunities afforded to people who want to avoid a hard Brexit – one that will cost jobs and livelihoods.
I look forward to campaigning alongside our four fantastic Labour MPs in the South West (Thangam Debbonaire, Karin Smyth, Kerry McCarthy and Ben Bradshaw) as well as the Labour candidates in the other 51 constituencies across the region.
Last week, I was out and about in the constituency. On Wednesday I travelled down to Cornwall, campaigning alongside our fantastic candidates in Falmouth. Cornish people have been let down by the Government and Leave campaigners who made assurances that Cornwall would receive the same levels of funding post-Brexit that it currently gets from the European Union.
On Thursday, I was in Bath to launch Bath Labour Women’s Forum alongside Lesley Mansell, the party’s candidate for the West of England Metro Mayor. It was so encouraging to see enthusiastic women getting involved in politics, particularly at such a vital time in our country’s history.
On Friday, I met with key businesses from the South West to discuss their plans as the UK leaves the European Union. It is clear that a hard Brexit, driven by ideology, would be disastrous for our world-leading businesses across the region. I also attended a West Dorset for Europe meeting alongside Oliver Letwin MP in Dorchester. It was fantastic to see a packed hall for this informative and revealing debate.
Saturday saw the March for Science take place in Bristol. I was delighted to attend and met various key stakeholders from across the region including the RSPB, Bristol Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Bristol Astronomical Society. The EU has enabled vital scientific collaboration and research across the South West and the UK as a whole. I then followed up the science march by doing an update meeting with Thangam Debbonaire MP on leaving the EU. It was great to see another packed-out room and to share a stage with a woman is clearly the progressive and pro-European choice for Bristol West.