Simon Hughes may have failed to reclaim his old Bermondsey and Old Southwark seat but he vows he isn’t going anywhere.
The Liberal Democrat, who held the seat for 32 years until he was unseated by Labour’s Neil Coyle in 2015, said he would continue his commitments in the area – including his role as school governor, chair of London Bubble Theatre and independent director of London Football Association.
The 66-year-old said he still hadn’t retired and was in talks with the Open University about returning to work.
“It was a very happy campaign,” he said, talking about the election. “It had record numbers of people involved, we had really good activity on the ground and an amazing display of support in posters all over the place and billboards.”
He added: “It was very frustrating because at the beginning of the campaign it looked as if Labour nationally weren’t really going to get any traction and that the Tories would be across the country the party to beat.
“But the Tories scored increasing numbers of own goals and the Labour campaign gained momentum and what happened here is that more people voted for us this time than last time and that was great, but suddenly over the last two weeks more people who had never voted before came out and voted Labour.
“It was frustrating because I was clear that had we had the seat we would’ve done a better job than has been done over the last two years by the Labour MP.”
Sir Simon said the Labour manifesto would have been “very attractive” to young people, their parents, and their grandparents because it offered to scrap tuition fees entirely.
“It’s absolutely a seat we would hope and plan to get back,” he said, talking about his former seat of Bermondsey and Old Southwark.
“And we will be ready when it comes. I haven’t disappeared, I’m not moving away, I will still live in SE1 and will be involved with everything.”