I want to say how proud I am of my office staff and how pleased I am for Emma Chesworth (Senior Caseworker) and Matt Storey (Constituency Office Manager) that they have been recognised for their wider contribution to the Labour Party and our local area.
Emma received the award of “Woman of the Year” at the Labour North Regional Awards Dinner on Friday, 16th March while Matt received the Ashok Kumar Award for “Campaigner of the Year”. I heartily congratulate them both on accolades decided by the Regional Panel that are richly deserved.
Emma’s work on ‘No Page 3’, the 8th Plinth and ‘Period Poverty’ have been highlighted but this is only part of her cause about which she speaks passionately: "I fight for women's rights because every day I see the inequalities that women and girls face.
“I want to play my part, alongside my sisters, to challenge these issues and enact change. I want to show young girls that they do have a voice and they deserve every opportunity.
“Through my writing and activism I want to challenge decision makers, who are all too often men. While girls are missing out on school because they cannot afford sanitary protection, I will not stay quiet. I will shout up, stand tall and centre the needs of women".
Campaigning is what Matt does. He has a passion for taking Labour’s messages onto the streets and to people’s doorstep. “I want to stand up for the things that matter to people. I want to engage with them on their doorstep.
“This is often isn’t easy to do because not everyone will agree with us. What is important, though, is to respect voters, to have an open-minded conversation them and try build a relationship of trust about why Labour is on their side, trying to achieve what’s best for the town informed by what they think, what best meets their own needs and those of the area in which they live.
“I am leading campaigns all year round not just in the run-up to election day – something no other political party does in our town. We have positive ideas that have practical outcomes that will change things for the better.
“Austerity has been imposed on us by the Tories, it is unfair and has unjust consequences for everyone in Middlesbrough and that is something I will always speak out against and help voters to understand”.
I think it is best to hear what Emma and Matt have to say in their own way about what drives them to put their all into changing lives for the better and building a better society. That is their way – and it is what Labour stand for and makes our movement stronger.