New Labour MP – ‘I will stand up for and be voice of everyone’

Acting Leader of the Labour Party Harriet Harman (centre) with some of the newly elected Labour MPs during a photocall in Westminster, including Cat Smith (far right, third row).Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Acting Leader of the Labour Party Harriet Harman (centre) with some of the newly elected Labour MPs during a photocall in Westminster, including Cat Smith (far right, third row).Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

New MP Cat Smith has vowed to work “as hard as possible” for the people of the Lancaster district.

Ms Smith has experienced a manic week since winning the Lancaster and Fleetwood seat at the general election by a 1,265 majority.

The 29-year-old took the seat from Conservative Eric Ollerenshaw with 17,643 votes (42.3 per cent) to 16,378 (39.2 per cent), to become the first Labour MP for Lancaster since Hilton Dawson was elected in 1997 under the former Lancaster and Wyre constituency.

And Ms Smith has ploughed straight in to meetings and training during a busy first week in Westminster.

She said: “There was no time off between the election and starting down in London.

“I think it really sank in when I got to Westminster.

“There is so much going on. I am finding my way around and attending meetings and training.”

Ms Smith’s election made her the first Lancaster and Fleetwood MP to hold the seat when there is not a Labour government.

But despite the national picture for Labour being gloomy, Ms Smith said she will not let the Conservative majority government stop her from working her hardest for what she believes in.

She said: “It was obviously a bad night for Labour nationally but this was the best result we have had locally for a long time.

“I think I stand out by being a 29-year-old woman, and I have no reason to be nervous.

“The only people who should be nervous are the Tories, who I will be holding to account in Westminster.”

Among her priorities during her five years in office will be the future of the National Health Service, particularly the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a series of trade negotiations being carried out between the EU and US.

She said: “For me, the future of the NHS is the most important issue. We should be cautious and vigilant against any future privatisation and that is high up my agenda. I’m concerned about the threat of TTIP to the NHS and as a consequence private companies making profits from our ill health.

“Locally, I am concerned about the privatisation of pharmacy services at the infirmary.”

Ms Smith, who was born in Barrow-in-Furness but now lives in Lancaster with her fiance Ben, worked until last week for the British Association of Social Workers.

She said she is still looking for a suitable office space in Lancaster, and until her new staff are in place is urging people to call, email or text their issues to her.

She added: “I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted for me.

“I am going to work as hard as I am physically able to to deliver what I said I would.

“It’s not under the circumstances I would have liked but that will not deter me.

“I will serve everybody equally, whether they voted for me or not.

“My priority is to serve, stand up for and be the voice of everyone in Lancaster and Fleetwood.”