On May 4th I gained Hanborough and Freeland from the Conservatives, giving the residents of these fantastic villages their first ever Labour and Co-op Councillor.

This true blue seat, nestled in David Cameron’s former constituency, has been let down by a succession of complacent Tory Cllrs – speculative development prompted by a lack of Local Plan meant residents felt powerless to shape their own housing and infrastructure and closures and cuts to vital services like day centres and bus routes left our older residents feeling cut off and left behind. Talking about the co-op approach on the doorstep gave me the chance to explain what kind of Councillor I could be – community buses, a vision for a better approach to social care, even innovative and collaborative initiatives to fix our roads – clearly made sense to people. Working hand in hand with the communities we live in and represent so that they understand the power they can harness from themselves is right at the heart of the co-op movement and our stretched rural areas need that power now more than ever.

In 2014 Labour got under 200 votes, 600 behind the Conservatives. On Thursday night, we won by over 100 votes, gaining the support of 741 voters. I firmly believe this was down to our team embracing cooperative values throughout the campaign: close community ties, positive messages, providing very real answers to all too real problems. I am proud to now be a Councillor for Labour and The Co-operative Party and thrilled that I will be able to work with my Labour and Co-op colleagues across West Oxfordshire to deliver for residents who are ready for the co-op difference!