Sunak says new Mid Beds MP “might actually support me a bit more than the last one”

Alistair Strathern MP outside The Rufus Centre, Flitwick Photo: LDRS
Alistair Strathern MP outside The Rufus Centre, Flitwick Photo: LDRS

Mid Bedfordshire’s new MP said it was nice being part of history “not once, but twice in a week”.

Alistair Strathern (Labour) was speaking ahead of his first constituency surgery (Friday, 28 October) just days after being sworn in as a new MP.

He said that the first historical event was being elected as the first Labour MP for Mid Bedfordshire.

“Secondly, I was part of Rishi [Sunak’s] first genuinely funny joke in Parliament,” he said.

The prime minister welcomed Strathern to the Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions.

He said: “I suspect the new member for Mid Beds might actually support me a little bit more than the last one.”

Strathern said that joke was part of how “genuinely welcoming” members from all the political parties have been to him.

“[This] is an encouraging display of bipartisanship that I’m looking forward to continuing to build on in my time as our MP,” he said.

Following the by-election defeats in Mid Beds and Tamworth the Conservative chair Greg Hands was reported as saying his party’s “biggest” problem was “previous Conservative voters staying at home.”

But Strathern said that claims that he only won because people didn’t vote betrayed a “lack of awareness and real connection” to what was actually happening on the ground.

Clapham Cars

“There were absolutely people of all political persuasions who didn’t vote this time around,” he said.

“You often, sadly, get this a lot more in a by-election than you do in a general election.

“But from day one to the election day to the response I’ve received afterwards, I’m under no illusions that my win was only possible because thousands of people across this constituency voted Labour for the very first time.

“It is absolutely on me and on Labour to earn that trust for the general election and that hard work begins for me now and continues for us as a party to show people that there is a better alternative to the current government and the situation we’re finding ourselves in.

“This by-election showed that actually people are open-minded right across Mid Bedfordshire to do something different.

“And we need to just continue to earn people’s trust and to deliver on that vision between now and the general election to show people where the right home for their vote,” he said.

Following the surgery at Flitwick’s Rufus Centre, Strathern said: “It was great to have so many people along.

“I’m grateful for everyone who came along, including several who stepped in just to pass on their best wishes.

“It is clear people are facing some very real challenges across Mid Beds, and there is a very real demand for help from their MP.

“I’m looking forward to throwing myself into championing our communities, and have my next surgery in Wixams this coming Friday (3 November).”

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter