2006 has been a really significant year for me and for Waltham Forest Labour. In May, you elected me your local councillor for Leyton – a position not held by Labour for over 12 years. I still can’t quite believe that I’ve been elected for almost eight months now, representing the ward I was born in, that I love and that I still live in.
It is a great honour to serve Leyton residents in the town hall – but more importantly, in the ward. I am really looking forward to continuing to work as your Leyton ward councillor in 2007, for the next three and a bit years, and beyond.
I know that many people are disillusioned with Labour. There have been many national issues that have lost us friends and votes. However, I still maintain that the best councillor is a Labour councillor, the best MP is a Labour MP and the best government is absolutely 100% a Labour government.
For all its faults, Labour is the only party that’s truly committed to social justice and making better the lives of people who live in deprived wards like mine. Those of you who’ve come to see me at my surgeries have told me how much difference the New Deal, Educational Maintenance Allowance, London’s free bus and tube travel for under 18s, the Working Families Tax credit, the Winter Fuel Allowance, the Minimum Wage, Sure Start and Children’s Centres have made to you and your friends that live in Leyton ward.
You have also told me how much you’ve welcomed Waltham Forest Labour’s push for weekly recycling, our excellent street wardens, our fight to rid our borough of illegal DVD sellers and our ongoing campaign to save Whipps Cross Hospital.
We have so many challenges to tackle in Leyton but since May, due to the full presence of Team Labour at all levels of the ward, Leyton ward now has hope.
So thank you for a brilliant, brilliant year as your new Labour councillor for Leyton ward.
I will be around in Leyton, over the Christmas break, for those of you who need me.
To the rest of you, I wish you and your families a Happy Christmas and a Brilliant New Year.
I look forward to seeing you in 2007.
Lots of hugs and best wishes,