A personal message sent out to all members today.
Last Thursday I saw the job of my dreams torn away. In the previous 7 weeks we had campaigned hard, delivering leaflets, knocking on door after door. We campaigned hard but we campaigned clean and I will always be proud of that. In contrast the opposition preferred to campaign using threats, unsubstantiated facts and untruths. They were aggressive in their manner and relentless in their attacks on me.
Aided by a group claiming to be non-political yet being photographed with the Labour candidate they launched a massive personal attack on myself. They hijacked hustings with outsiders using offensive banners and inflammatory language at what was a Churches Together event. In essence it was a dirty unpleasant campaign, the worst I have experienced in 20 years in politics, but at the end of the day, despite increasing my vote we lost.
I would like to thank everyone who played their part in the campaign. Many people worked incredibly hard giving up hours of their own time to deliver leaflets, knock on doors or stand at street stalls and I will forever remain thankful of what you all did. Since last Thursday I have received many letters and emails, some very unpleasant however the vast majority have been supportive and complementary about my time as the Member of Parliament and they have been very welcome.
On the whole it was a disappointing night for the Conservative Party. We lost our Commons majority and several of my friends and colleagues suffered the same fate as I. Others were subjected to similar campaigns against them which worries me about the future of British politics if this sort of tactic is proving successful.
On a personal level my main focus is now to find a job but I am being asked whether I would consider standing again. I have made no decisions and won't for some time, but I want to repeat my sincere thanks to everyone for all they did during the campaign and particularly the campaign team members who worked tirelessly right up until the polls closed at 10pm.
Thank you all so much,