MP for Poplar & Limehouse Jim Fitzpatrick urges us to participate in the democratic process and use our vote on May 22


- Credit: Archant

You can’t turn on the news or pick up a newspaper without coming to the conclusion that we’re approaching election time. In little over two weeks people will be going to the polls to vote in local councillors, MEPs and in our case a Mayor for the borough.

We’ve heard a lot about UKIP’s rise, we’ve already had a few gaffes and of course we’ve had our own political drama unfold in Tower Hamlets with most recently some very serious accusations levelled at the current Mayor in a Panorama documentary.

I know from feedback when I’m door knocking and by the many conversations I have on email with constituents that most people are pretty tired of things as they are and they genuinely want to see change on their doorstep and throughout the country. I don’t blame them with cases of abuse featuring regularly in the news, giving politics and politicians a bad name. However with the average turnout in elections at around 35 per cent it’s clear that this dissatisfaction doesn’t result in more people voting for change and kicking out people who they don’t think are playing fair.

It’ll come as no surprise that when I talk to people I put forward the case for voting John Biggs and for Labour but by far the argument that counts the most is actually using your vote.

I was contacted following the Panorama programme by an 87 year old disabled lady who does herself and us proud by turning out to vote at elections. I hope that everyone who can vote shows the same determination and sense of civic responsibility on polling day, May 22. Given the numbers who have contacted me to express their feelings about the so-called ‘gagging law’ – and many other issues you care about from housing, jobs, gay marriage and the badger cull, I’ll take this opportunity to urge you to participate in the democratic process. Don’t be silent when you do have the chance to be heard.