Now, I turn to this place. This building is intimidating, It reeks of the establishment and of power. It’s systems are confusing, some may say archaic. It was built at a time when my class and sex would have been denied a place within it because we are deemed unworthy.
I believe the intimidating nature of this place is not accidental. The clothes, the language, the obsession with hierarchy. Control and domination is symbolic of the system at large but I think the most frustrating thing, has been to sit opposite those people who tell me that things are better, that suffering has lessened for my constituents.
I would like you to come and tell those people who have been sanctioned, that things are better, or the teacher in my constituency who was recently made redundant. I would like you to come to talk to the sixteen and a half thousand people in County Durham in receipt of food parcels. To the nurses, to the junior doctors, to the firefighters, come and tell them that years of austerity have improved their practice or their profession.
And I’ll end with this Mr Speaker, we can choose, in this place to be self obsessed, to be a perpetrator of fear and greed, a monument to injustice or Mr Speaker, it can be a place that elevates equality, facilitates the power of the people, esteems and properly funds a rich network of public services so that nobody is left in the indignity of poverty.