Burnley MP vows to fight for her seat in General Election

Burnley MP Julie Cooper
Burnley MP Julie Cooper

Burnley MP Julie Cooper has vowed to defend her seat in Parliament with honesty and integrity following today's shock news of a snap General Election this year.

The Labour MP, who was only voted in to the Commons two years ago, admitted she was shocked by Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement that she had decided to call a General Election for this June.

The Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament

Mrs Cooper said: "The Prime Minister's announcement did come as a bit of a shock, especially considering that she has always said she would not call an early election.

"I feel the country needs a period of stability now following Brexit, and I also believe that we should have a finalised Brexit deal on the table before any General Election. Clearly that's not going to happen now, which I think is ridiculous."

Mrs Cooper served as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Seema Malhotra when she first entered Parliament.

Since October 2016, she has been the Shadow Health Minister with responsibility for Community Health. Her role in the shadow health team covers primary care, the allied health profession, end of life care, physical disabilities and care integration.

Mrs Cooper added: "I feel I have now settled in so to speak in Parliament. My duties as a PPS and in the shadow health cabinet have given me great experience. Out of my 6,900 pieces of casework in the last 12 months, 42% of those have been related to the NHS.

"This clearly shows how important the health service to people in Burnley and Padiham. I hope my constituents will vote for me again but I am not taking anything for granted. I will fight with honesty and integrity to convince Burnley and Padiham that Labour is the right choice."

Mrs Cooper revealed that Labour members were meeting with leader Jeremy Corbyn tonight, but would not be drawn on what the future held for him should the party, as expected, lose the election.

She added: "Opinion polls on the big votes of recent times - the 2015 General Election, last year's Brexit referendum and this year's US Presidential election - proved that the polls can get it wrong.

"We don't shy away from a fight, but it's too early to say what would happen to Jeremy should we lose. I will be fighting for a better life for all my constituents, not just the privileged few that the Tory Government seem keen to look after.

"People talk about divisions in Labour, but clearly Theresa May has called this election because she cannot push through everything she wants from her backbenchers."

In the 2015 General Election, Mrs Cooper polled 14,951 votes, with Liberal Democrat candidate and previous Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle polling 11,707 votes.