Last Sunday marked the 25th Anniversary of my first election to Tameside Council. It has been my honour to represent my home, first as a councillor, and then as a Member of Parliament.

A lot has changed in 25 years. When I joined Tameside Council, I was England’s youngest councillor, John Major was Prime Minister, and Mark Morrison was number one with ‘Return of the Mack’. Over 25 years I have learned a huge amount, I’m not ashamed to say I that haven’t got everything right, but I have always tried my best to make a difference, and to improve the lives of the people I represent.

Apart from reminiscing, my anniversary got me thinking about the importance of local government. A lot is made of our general elections, where we choose our Members of Parliament, and pick the people who will occupy Downing Street for the next few years. They are incredibly important, yet I think our local elections are where we really see democracy in action.

Local government isn’t about what happens in Downing Street, but about what happens in your street. It’s about how your council tax bill is spent, what money goes into education, or transport, or social care. It’s about the management of roads, libraries and local events. It’s about your neighbours and it’s about your community. We don’t see our local councillors on the television every day, or at flashy political events in Westminster. They don’t make national news or get all the recognition, but they are the lifeblood of our local area, and work tirelessly to represent their communities.

The local elections on Thursday the 6th of May are our chance to speak up for our areas. We have a chance to select who represents us at a local level, and who represents the people of Greater Manchester as their Mayor. By voting, you are making a real difference to your local community and ensuring that your voice is heard.

Now more than ever, we need a local government that represents its residents. That’s why I’m urging everyone in Tameside to vote on the 6th of May. However you intend to use your vote, it is so important that you use it.

Constituency Office Address

Town Hall, Market Street, Denton, M34 2AP

Parliamentary Office Address

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA