Political Opinion: The general election on 4th July is our opportunity to vote for change

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Labour's candidate for Northampton North, Lucy Rigby, reflects on the first week of the general election campaign

Many will have seen the pictures of our beleaguered Prime Minister last week announcing (inexplicably, in the pouring rain and without an umbrella), that he is finally calling a general election.

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Just a couple of hours afterwards, I was out and about, alongside my campaign team, doing what we’ve been doing week in, week out, for the last 18 or so months: talking to people in Northampton about their views and concerns, and the change they want to see. And, in the days since the announcement of the election, we’ve been doing exactly the same: listening to as many people as we can, working hard for every vote and campaigning for the change that I passionately believe in necessary here in Northampton and across the country.

Lucy on St GilesLucy on St Giles
Lucy on St Giles

The reality is this that this election is about one thing, and that’s the possibility of change. Do you want to continue the pattern of the last 14 years, with increasingly degraded public services, economic chaos and the cost of living sky high, our armed forces being hollowed out and 90% of crimes going unsolved? Or, do you think we ought to change course?

You’ll know, I’m firmly in the latter camp. I don’t just believe that Northampton and Britain can be better than how it currently stands after 14 years of Conservative government, I know it. It is possible to grow our economy and rescue our NHS. It’s possible to provide our young people in Northampton with more opportunities, more teachers and more support in schools. It’s possible to bring energy bills down and make Britain more energy-secure.

Despite the broken promises and the chaos of the last 14 years, which I’m painfully aware has led to a decline in faith in those who want to serve their communities in politics, all these things are possible.

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They’re about choices, and priorities – which of course is what politics is all about. Do you continue to allow the country to lose billions of pounds in tax avoidance, or do you crack down on it and use that money to fund more doctor’s appointments? I say we crack down on it. Are you content to let the cost of living crisis continue, or should we do something to tackle it by imposing a windfall tax on the energy companies’ profits from Putin’s war in Ukraine to bring energy bills down? Well, I think we should bring bills down.

These are just a few examples, but there are more. What they all have in common though is that central question: do you want to continue on Rishi Sunak’s course of chaotic decline, or do you want change because you believe Northampton and Britain can be better?

Well, now residents here in Northampton can have their say. For my part, I know that change is within our grasp – we just need to go out and vote for it.