Chloe Smith’s election speech,
24th July 2009, Norfolk Showground, following the announcement of the
Norwich North Parliamentary by-election results.
"Thank you very much. I’d like to begin by sending my best wishes for a speedy recovery to my Labour opponent, Chris Ostrowski.
And I’d like to thank my friends, my family, my campaign team, and the hundreds of people who have campaigned for me in the last few weeks. I’d also like to thank the police, the Returning Officer, and his staff. But most of all I want to thank the people of Norwich North for putting their trust in me and giving me the honour of representing them in the House of Commons.
I also want to pay tribute to my predecessor. In Ian Gibson, the people of Norwich North had an MP who was strong, independent and local. As a Conservative, I might not share all of Dr Gibson’s views, but I am determined to represent the people of Norwich North with the same honesty and conviction.
That is the approach I have taken throughout this by-election campaign. Whether it was my pledge to be transparent on MPs’ expenses, or my contract, in which I set out exactly what I want to do for the local community, I have been absolutely clear – if, come the general election, you feel I haven’t kept my promises, you should vote me out.
So, this by-election has been a victory for honest politics. The people of Norwich North have rejected the old politics of personal attacks, smears and scare stories. They have voted for change. And in doing so, they have sent a message to Gordon Brown loud and clear.
But people haven’t just voted against Labour – they’ve voted for the Conservative Party. This is only the second Conservative gain from Labour in a by-election for 31 years. That’s longer than my lifetime. And this was in a by-election held in the context of real and justifiable public anger over MPs’ expenses.
It is now our agenda – of honesty on public spending, of targeted help to get us through the recession, of devolving power to local communities – that is setting the pace in British politics now. So roll on the general election, when the British people will also have the opportunity to vote for change.
But this election was won not just on national issues; it was won on local issues too. As your MP, I will fight to protect local services. I will campaign to get the Northern Distributor Road. I will work to get a new community facility at the site of the closed NHS walk-in centre at Dussindale. I will be a tireless champion for local people.
I know that, in making me your Member of Parliament, you have invested great responsibility in me. But it is a responsibility I accept with pride and humility. It will be an honour to serve you. I will not let you down".