We went into this election with the intention of raising the profile of one urgent issue; violence against women and girls, because it goes to the heart of women’s inequality. Although we expected to have some impact, the success of our campaign far exceeded expectations.
We stood a group of truly incredible women against five MPs facing unresolved allegations of harassment or abuse. Not one of those MPs has kept their seat today and all parties will now think carefully about how they select candidates in future elections. We offered to stand aside if the other progressive parties adopted our key policies on ending violence against women. We stood aside in two seats in exchange for our policies being included in the Liberal Democrat manifesto. We asked general election candidates to sign our pledge to end abuse in Westminster and dozens agreed. We created a groundswell of support to change the law so that abusive MPs can be recalled by their constituents, and we called for emergency funding for refuges. Through our campaigning and our collaborative approach, we gained crucial allies in Westminster to push forward legislation to end the scourge of violence against women and girls.
Another way we’ve exerted influence was by endorsing, supporting, and campaigning for Rosie Duffield who held on to her ultra marginal seat in Canterbury with an increased majority. She has repeatedly stood up for women in parliament and spoken out for survivors by sharing her own experiences of domestic abuse.
All of this has taken place in one of the worst elections in history. As a country, we are now faced with an increasingly hard-right Conservative government, which has used racist, dog-whistle politics to appeal to people’s very worst instincts. Over the next five years, all progressive parties and politicians must find ways work together across party lines to resist the rolling back of our basic rights and the decimation of our public services - the brunt of which will be borne by women and minorities.
As bleak as this may feel, the past few months have also given me reasons to be hopeful. In the middle of an election which has been fraught with lies, toxicity and division, our powerful message cut through and our determination to call out the worst in the other parties while bringing out the best in them showed that cross-party cooperation, integrity, and principled politics is still possible. We have provided a blueprint for the kind of resistance that is needed, and I could not be prouder of what we have achieved together.
I want to thank each and every member, activist, volunteer, donor and voter who supported our campaign, and especially our four extraordinary candidates, who told their stories fearlessly and used their fire and their determination to challenge a powerful establishment and win. Together we have shown that justice is possible. This victory belongs to all of you and we could never have done it without you.