'Labour's victory celebration is premature and I'm more determined than ever'

The local elections last week were difficult. The reality I have to face is that despite all the work, not enough of you were persuaded to vote for Conservative councillors here in Plymouth, writes Plymouth Moor View MP Johnny Mercer.

We won in Eggbuckland with a fantastic new councillor Chris Wood. But apart from him, the picture is bleak and I'm sorry to all those who stood locally for the council and were unsuccessful, as well as congratulate all those from the Labour Party who were.

But something odd is going on. The Labour Party locally seem to be acting as if this is it; as though they have already won; as if there's no point having a General Election it's a done deal.

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That is extraordinary considering only about three out of 10 Plymothians voted last week, and on balance roughly only one out of 10 voted for Labour. I don't shy away from our poor performance I want more people to vote, and it is my job to go out and inspire them to vote for me at a general election.

But winning one vote out of every ten available is hardly a ringing endorsement. For comparison, I won six out of ten the last time we had a general election.

Fewer people voted for Labour in Plymouth at this local election than they did this time last year. Labour's raw number of votes went up, on average, by just 58 votes per ward, which is a slim margin as they go. This demonstrates that, despite talk of a large national swing there is little enthusiasm for Labour locally.

Even after all the travails of the Conservatives grappling with world events, fewer people came out to vote for Labour in Plymouth than they did this time last year. That is extraordinary. And sets up what I am seeing week after week on the doors in Plymouth.

Does Plymouth really want a sea of red representing them in politics? I don't think so.

Have we made extraordinary progress over the last ten years despite war and a pandemic? I think so. Is there further to go to fulfil that incredible potential we all know Plymouth has? Of course, and that is why I am standing again. The question left then is a simple one: what do we need to do to get out and vote whenever this general election is what's the positive vision for Plymouth?

So, we are in a tough spot I am in no doubt. The electorate gave us a big punch in the mouth last Thursday. But I am determined more determined than ever. If I am going to again have the privilege of representing you, I am going to have to fight harder than I ever have before. I have a good record that I'm proud of. I won in tougher circumstances in 2015 when no-one gave me a chance.

Because I put you first. Before my party, before myself. I pledge to do so again, and I look forward to the campaign.