Here is a copy of my acceptance speech:
Madam Mayor I am both honoured and humbled to be elected as a Member of Parliament for my home town. I would like to thank everyone who has put their trust in me today and pledge to do my very best to provide a strong voice for Croydon in Parliament, to fight for more police on our streets, against plans to downgrade our local hospital, for a fair deal for Council Taxpayers, for improvements to our public transport system and against the crazy decision that all in-country asylum applications have to be made here. I’ve lived in Croydon virtually my whole life, I’ve chosen to raise my family here, it’s a great place but it can be so much better still.
I’d like to pay tribute to the other candidates at this election, who with one notable exception are in politics for the right reasons. In particular, can I single out my predecessor, Andrew Pelling. Andrew has served both this town and the Conservative Party with distinction over a number of years and it is a matter of deep regret that that service should end in this way.
I haven’t won this evening because people have decided they would prefer me to Andrew as their MP. I have won because the people of Croydon Central want a change of government; because thanks to David Cameron’s leadership they are now prepared to look to the Conservative Party to provide that change; because the people of Croydon have seen things change for the better since we took control of Croydon Council four years ago and that gives them confidence that we can do the same nationally; and because unlike the other parties we campaign throughout the whole constituency all year round not just at election time.
I’d like to thank my agent Ian Parker and the hundreds of people who have volunteered to help on my campaign. People are rightly very angry about the behaviour of MPs but it is important to remember that most people who join a political party do so without any prospect of every receiving a salary or an allowance. They do it because they care about their community and their country and want to see them change for the better.
There has been a lot of talk during this campaign about the need for changes to our political system. There is a case for some of those changes but we should not lose sight of the fact that it was not the system that let people down, it was individual MPs. There is a huge responsibility on the shoulders of those of us elected to this new Parliament to keep our promises and to conduct ourselves in a way that restores people’s faith in politics.
Madam Mayor, it is doubly appropriate for me that this count is taking place here at Trinity School. First, because this is where my interest in politics began; second, because the motto of the school is “Vincit qui patitur”, which - if my Latin teachers will forgive me - roughly translates as “He who endures conquers”. We have had to endure a lot during this campaign but we have conquered and I would like to dedicate the victory to two people who cannot be here to see it but would have taken great pleasure in it – my Dad, who we lost shortly before the last General Election, and my friend and campaign manager Lindsay Frost, who tragically passed away on Good Friday. We’ve done you proud Linds.