This afternoon, after months of hard work, the elections in Liverpool have finished.
I want to thank our excellent team of council staff who have looked after the polling stations, counted ballot papers overnight after polls closed on Thursday and again, with only a few hours rest, during Friday. The police service also deserves our thanks for their contribution to a smooth and efficient election.
I want to make special mention of the electoral services team who also manage voter registration. This team has gone to extraordinary lengths to help and encourage people to take up their rights giving as many people as possible the opportunity to vote. They have done a magnificent job, meaning 17,000 extra people were given a chance to vote this year.
I want to thank the Labour party’s candidates, councillors and cabinet who make our values happen in the city. As a result the people of Liverpool have decided again to trust their votes to Labour.
But I also want to thank the hundreds of Labour volunteers who have helped our party in the city and in other important seats around the region. Our successes today in Liverpool have only been possible because of them.
Most people won’t appreciate that politics is mostly run by volunteers who donate time, energy and sometimes money for the values they believe in. Here in Liverpool, we had hundreds of people on the doorstep almost every day in the last weeks of the election, because it is only the Labour Party that promises to stand up for the values of fairness, equality and opportunity for all, in a city that we can be proud of.
Today we woke up to the reality of another Tory government. There will be days if not weeks of intense political analysis about what happened – but what will be clear to us is how important this election is for our City.
This City needs a government which will treat us fairly. The funding formula for local government is unfair to Liverpool and it is now clear that we will face continued pressure on our budgets. The bedroom tax and the Tory’s promised benefit cuts are unfair and divisive policies that our people will have to face. We will do everything we can to stand with people in this city to help them overcome the pain this will cause.
This City needs a Government which is serious about investing for the future of the North. Rebalancing the economy means rebalancing government spending. We want a chance to catch up with London so we can contribute to a strong and dynamic UK. Large infrastructure projects like HS2 and HS3 must happen and happen quickly. That’s the best chance for job creation for our city.
This City needs a Government which will take responsibility for the health of the nation. I am going to be reminding MPs over the next few weeks that cities like Liverpool must not be forgotten. We need devolution of powers and funding, just as much as Scotland does.
Regardless which party is in Downing Street, I will never stop standing up for Liverpool, because our city has a bright future ahead.
Today’s results are a great vote of confidence in our efforts to deliver our promises of more schools, homes, jobs, sustainability and a cleaner, greener city. I promise you more of the same from us and I promise to keep fighting for more for our city from national government.