The last 40 hours have been tough and indeed I have yet to sleep (note to self never travel all day following a General Election ever again).
Firstly I'd like to thank the 1370 people in the Sedgefield constituency who put their trust in me yesterday to vote for me to serve as their MP, sadly we needed many more to think the same way. Especially the one individual who said that me responding to a tweet from them on eve of poll was enough to secure their vote.
I'd like to also thank my agent Ian Barnes for all the work he has done in sorting out the paperwork, nominations and deposit and the members of the Sedgefield and Darlington Liberal Democrats for the opportunity to stand as their candidate. I'd also like to thank Ian Jones the North East England regional chair for all his support as well as my fellow candidates and those providing candidate support in party HQ. This has certainly be a fun, interactive and supportive election for all the Liberal Democrat candidates who put themselves forward this time. Many new friendships have been formed between those of us who stood there last night as the tsunami of rejection poured over us as MPs lost seats, candidates lost hard fought fights and many, many of us lost the deposit.
One thing none of us as candidates lost as a result of last night is our core beliefs and values is a liberal vision of the world, where we seek to give everyone an opportunity to get on in life. Although the electorate didn't see the value that Liberal Democrats have provided in the past and could have provided in this next parliament to ensure those values are maintained it is something that is still worth fighting for.
Therefore I am determined that within the next few months I will secure a full time job in either England, Scotland or Wales. Once this has been done I will be seeking selection for a seat somewhere in that area early on in this General Election cycle. I hope that both the job and selection will have been sorted within the year. Then I will be knocking on doors, putting good things that we do on pieces of paper and through letter boxes and telling the locals about those values and what spurs me on to continue to be a Liberal Democrat. I can envision that many of my fellow candidates are feeling dejected this morning, I can also envision that many of them like me are more determined than even to carry out the fight.
I believe last night we faced the sound of gunfire and many of us fell on the battlefield. But now is the time to entrench, bring in the reinforcements to fill the ranks and prepare for the next offensive in 2020. We have a fight on our hands to get back to the strong voice we have gained in recent years, but it is a fight back that I sure is worth the effort.
This is me stating that I am ready to return to the fray (after a little sleep that is), stand up for liberal values, get back unto the doorsteps facing the people who think erroneously that we have lost our values to show that far from it we know that those core values are what ground us. From which we base our priorities of fairness and freedom. We, as a party, must return to those values and proclaim them on the doorsteps, write about them on bits of paper and regroup around them and put them front and centre once more.