New Teesside and County Durham MPs head for first day in new job (2024)

ByDavid Macmillan,Political correspondent, BBC Radio Tees

New Teesside and County Durham MPs head for first day in new job (1)New Teesside and County Durham MPs head for first day in new job (2)BBC

Following last week's General Election which saw Labour seize all but one of the seats in north-east England, the BBC joined some of the new MPs heading to London for their first day in the new job.

First day at work, first problem for the new MP for Darlington to deal with.

Labour’s Lola McEvoy and I are on platform one at Darlington Station, about to board the 08:02 train to King’s Cross.

We were meant to be getting on the 08:32 but it got cancelled.

"Luckily [new transport secretary] Louise Haigh has already said she’s going to sort out the trains and it’s only day two," Ms McEvoy says.

Unlike Ms Haigh, who has had all weekend to get used to her new role, Monday is Ms McEvoy’s first working day as an MP.

She was the first Labour candidate to reclaim a bit of the old red wall in the Tees Valley, beating Conservative Peter Gibson by 2,298 votes.

"I am feeling excited and a little bit nervous to be honest," she says, adding: "I am ready for it, I’m feeling very humbled. I’m taking the stories of the people of the town and I’ll fight as hard as I can to make a difference."

New Teesside and County Durham MPs head for first day in new job (3)New Teesside and County Durham MPs head for first day in new job (4)Getty Images

Becoming an MP is a huge change of lifestyle, particularly for a northern MP.

They set off early on a Monday to spend the first half of every week in London, before making the long journey back to their constituency on a Thursday or Friday.

Not to mention the huge responsibility that goes with it.

"I haven't really had chance to adjust to it yet," Ms McEvoy says, adding: "I think at some point it will hit me, maybe when I’m walking through those big doors at Westminster Hall.

"It’s a big deal and it matters very deeply to me. I feel very, very proud and honoured."

At least there are plenty of others going through the same experience.

Constituencies right across Teesside and County Durham have voted in new Labour MPs.

Two of them are boarding the same train here at Darlington - Sam Rushworth, the new MP for Bishop Auckland and Alan Strickland, who won in Newton Aycliffe and Spennymoor.

There are hugs on the platform, then Mr Strickland takes up a seat alongside Ms McEvoy on the train.

New Teesside and County Durham MPs head for first day in new job (5)New Teesside and County Durham MPs head for first day in new job (6)

"It’s a such a privilege, particularly to be elected to parliament representing your home seat," he says.

"I was born and bred in Newton Aycliffe, my family live there, so the idea that I’m going down to Westminster to represent my community is really exciting but also daunting," Mr Strickland adds.

There is a real camaraderie between the pair – Ms McEvoy tells me they have become close colleagues since being selected to contest neighbouring constituencies for the Labour Party.

“You find your work besties and Alan has been an absolute rock to me throughout the campaign,” she says, adding: "It’s not easy.

"I wanted to make sure I ran a positive campaign and that young people growing up in Darlington could see that politics is for them.

“I am a really ordinary person and Alan is too. He is a really good friend."

Some relationships will be different now though.

“I think things do change," Ms McEvoy says, telling how a former MP phoned her after her win to warn her people would have high expectations from her.

Mr Strickland agrees, adding: "There is an element that is very, very different to any other job.

"We’ve both met thousands and thousands of people on the doorstep and you do go down with a head full of 'I must fix this and I must fix that'."

New Teesside and County Durham MPs head for first day in new job (7)New Teesside and County Durham MPs head for first day in new job (8)

Both are also carrying advice from their parents.

In Ms McEvoy’s case, there was a Wizard of Oz-inspired pep talk from her father about heart, courage and brains, and some very swift encouragement to aim for bigger things.

"We had a win or lose thank you party for volunteers,” she says, adding: "At the same time on the TV screen people were walking into Number 10 to be appointed cabinet ministers and he said to me 'what are you still doing here, they are appointing the cabinet'."

Mr Strickland’s advice from his mother, was rather more blunt.

"My mam has made it really clear – if I don’t deliver I’ll have her to answer to," he says.

When we arrive in London, the new MPs and I take the Tube from St Pancras to Green Park.

We walk past Buckingham Palace, with the King’s Guard marching on the road beside us, and arrive in Parliament Square.

Just before heading into the Houses of Parliament as the MP for Darlington for the first time, Ms McEvoy says that the statues outside the palace and tales of the suffragettes, are among the things that have inspired her to become a member of parliament.

"You might have a little daydream about what it would be like to walk through the members lobby and cast your first vote," she says.

"But I think when I get there, it’s going to hit me that this is a place of huge significance and history.

"There are a lot of things that are going to be very moving for me, to be in the same place as some of the greatest and best people in our country’s history."

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Bishop Auckland

Newton Aycliffe

Darlington

New Teesside and County Durham MPs head for first day in new job (2024)

FAQs

New Teesside and County Durham MPs head for first day in new job? ›

New MPs excited for first day in new job. Following last week's General Election which saw Labour seize all but one of the seats in north-east England, the BBC joined some of the new MPs heading to London for their first day in the new job. First day at work, first problem for the new MP for Darlington to deal with.

Who is the MP for Ushaw Moor Durham? ›

Ushaw Moor falls within the Deerness electoral ward in the City of Durham constituency, whose MP since 2019 has been Mary Foy.

Who is the MP for Marton Middlesbrough? ›

The MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland is Simon Clarke (Conservative).

Who are the MPs for County Durham? ›

Your MPs
  • Dehenna Davison. Conservative. Bishop Auckland Constituency.
  • Mary Foy. Labour. City of Durham Constituency.
  • Richard Holden. Conservative. North West Durham Constituency.
  • Paul Howell. Conservative. Sedgefield Constituency.
  • Kevan Jones. Labour. North Durham Constituency.
  • Grahame Morris. Labour. Easington Constituency.

Who is the MP seat in Durham? ›

Current member of Parliament

This seat is held by Conservative Jamil Jivani since a 2024 by-election to succeed former Opposition leader Erin O'Toole.

Is Durham Labour or conservative? ›

Labour has swept up all seats across Sunderland and County Durham, with Reform coming ahead of the Conservatives in multiple constituencies.

Is Andrew Bridgen still an MP? ›

Andrew James Bridgen (born 28 October 1964) is a British politician and businessman who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for North West Leicestershire from 2010 until 2024.

Is Ushaw Moor a nice place to live? ›

Very villagey if you know what I mean. Good points are nice countryside on your doorstep and house prices are low considering how close it is to Durham. Downsides, if you have kids, schools are poor, better off in Brandon or Langley Moor.

Is Neil Parish still an MP? ›

In April 2022, Parish had the Conservative party whip suspended pending an investigation into allegations that he had watched p*rnography in the Commons chamber during a debate. After admitting to the allegations, he resigned as an MP.

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