Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East speaking at the allocation of seats in Sunderland:
Thank you for giving me the chance to represent my home region in the European Parliament – a region that I am passionate about. I will return this trust by ensuring that I am a local MEP, engaging all the time, across the whole region, to reflect your views in the European Parliament.
I want to start by thanking all our fantastic Labour Party activists from across the region, my fellow candidates (Paul & Jayne), my husband (Ben), and Dad (Fenwick), who have all worked tirelessly on our campaign, and all the returning officers and polling station staff.
This Tory/Lib-Dem government has launched a wholesale offensive on working people, especially in the North East: with rocketing youth unemployment, privatisation of key public services, the growing need for food banks, and have created a Cost of Living crisis for ordinary people.
Labour has been clear that we want a different way – good quality jobs for young people, investment in health & education, & action to lift wages and working conditions. This is our agenda.
David Cameron’s European agenda is to ‘repatriate’ EU workers’ rights – rights extended to British workers by Labour. I have worked to create these basic rights and will defend & extend them as your MEP, tackling zero hours contracts & exploitation.
Our EU membership, the European single market and its trade deals are powerful tools for our regional economy and offer unique opportunities. Regional and social funds have supported inward investment and local job creation. Over 156,000 jobs are dependent on EU trade in the North East. Our future, as a region, lies looking outwards not inwards.
In tough times people want and need governments to stand up for them and with them. When they fail to do so, the risk is that some voters turn to those offering simple answers to complex problems. I will stand for tolerance in our region – uniting our communities not spreading division.
As your MEP I will ensure we use the opportunities of our EU membership to create and maintain jobs in this region for local people, to ensure dignity at work & long term prosperity for the North East.
Thank you for electing me as your MEP.