New MP Paffey references river sewage as local priority

By Jason Lewis, Local Democracy Reporter

Darren Paffey in front of Cobden Bridge PR600pxThe new Labour MP for Southampton Itchen believes his time as a city council cabinet member will allow him to “hit the ground running”, and has mentioned cleaning the River Itchen as a local priority.



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Darren Paffey claimed Labour’s first win in the seat since 2010, ending the Conservatives’ nine-year grip on the constituency.

Paffey, who stepped down as a councillor in May ahead of the general election, secured his place in Westminster with a majority of 6,105 votes over Tory candidate Sidney Yankson.

The former cabinet member for education on Southampton City Council said becoming an MP was “exciting and daunting” but he was committed to delivering the change that was needed for the city and the country.

Asked how his time as a councillor would play a part in his approach to being an MP, Mr Paffey told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “My experience as a councillor will strongly shape who I am as an MP and the relationships I have built up with headteachers, with charities, with youth organisations, with other businesses and organisations will absolutely shape how I want to improve the opportunities that young people.

“Being local, some people think it doesn’t matter. Actually, lots of people told me that it does and I believe it does because this is not new to me, these are not new people, these are not new situations.

“I am going to be building on the experience that I have had over the past few years, working together with those organisations.

“I fully recognise that MPs are seen in particular ways, but we are just individuals.

“We need those other partnerships working together to achieve any change at all.

“I can hit the ground running on that because of my years as a cabinet member for education.”

In relation to local priorities, Paffey did not hesitate to reference cleaning the River Itchen as it has “far too much sewage” going into it.

He also said that he was focused on supporting his party’s mission to break down barriers to opportunities for young people and adults in Southampton in terms of education and skills, and the range of employment prospects that should be available in a maritime city.

The margin of victory in Southampton Itchen in terms of votes was the largest seen in the constituency since Labour’s win in 2005 with incumbent John Denham.

Discussing what he put the positive result down to after a night which saw the Conservatives shed more than 245 seats across the country, Mr Paffey said: “I think the appetite for change. The appetite for change in the country and in this city as well.

“People have had enough of the chaos that’s coming from Westminster.

“They have had enough of leaders who don’t think the rules apply to them. I think there is clearly a very strong desire for change.

“We have seen that in a big swing to Labour and people getting behind Labour’s vision for the country and actually we have seen it in lifelong Tories some coming to us but also going to Reform and quite a significant increase there.

“People are leaving behind and want to leave behind the way the Conservatives have treated this country and treated the people of this country.”

ldrs logo 200px This article is from the Local Democracy Reporting Service or Shared Data Unit. Some alterations and additions may have been made by our site, which is a partner in the BBC's Local News Partnerships scheme. LDRS journalists are funded by the BBC to cover local authorities and other public service organisations, and content is shared with all partners.

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