After five long years of campaigning and over 10,000 doorstep conversations, in the early hours of Friday, May 8th, I was honoured and delighted to find myself elected to represent the people of Burnley and Padiham, as their new Labour Member of Parliament.
Just three days later, with little time to catch my breath, I found myself heading off by train, early on Monday morning to Westminster, to begin the London-based part of my role.
I must admit there were a few first day nerves mingled with the excitement as I walked across the bridge at Westminster, manoeuvring my way through the busy London traffic.
Once I had finally entered the magnificent palace, however, the nerves gave way to a great sense of optimism and anticipation about the opportunities that lay ahead.
Officially the first three days for a new MP are set aside for induction, a mammoth process involving mountains of forms, checks and security procedures. I must say, however, the Westminster staff could not have been more approachable and helpful so, with their support, the process was eventually completed and I am raring to go.
I have already met and made useful contacts with many other new MPs from all parties (several of them while they were wandering lost through the maze of corridors, clutching maps – something of a challenge I must admit!) alongside well-known Parliamentarians such as Dennis Skinner and John Prescott.
My first experience of sitting in the chamber overwhelmed me with a sense of history and pride in the democratic process of our country. However, I am mindful the next five years will bring many challenges alongside the excitement.
The Conservative Government has already declared its intention to continue the cuts to public funding, local services and welfare. These cuts will undoubtedly hurt the people of this town, with the vulnerable hit hardest of all.
I know the people of Burnley and Padiham need me to quickly find my feet in order that I can hold this Government to account and fight their corner at every opportunity. Let me assure you; I am up for the fight!
My Burnley based team and I are already busy setting up a constituency office and details of this and MP surgeries will follow very shortly. In the meantime, you can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.