THE BLOG
26/03/2015 13:41 GMT | Updated 26/05/2015 06:59 BST

Five Year Reflection

It's like Dr Who's TARDIS but in reverse, smaller on the inside than it actually looks from the outside. The first time I walked into the Chamber of the House of Commons as the MP for Liverpool Walton, all I could think was: "It looks so much bigger on the telly!"

By the time I made my way towards the dispatch box to be sworn in by the Speaker a few weeks later, with my family proudly watching from the balcony, I had familiarised myself with the place. The architecture. The majesty. The history.

It is the place where Churchill updated the House on Hitler's defeat. It's where Nye Bevin proclaimed the birth of the NHS and the Welfare State.

It's where Thatcher wreaked havoc on the unprepared questioner and where Blair hit sixes every week against Hague, IDS, Howard and Cameron, discharging bouncers bowled at him to the boundaries.

It's where Norman Lamont had to explain away Black Wednesday (whilst his chief economic adviser, a young David Cameron, watched from the special advisers benches) and where Brown and Darling steered the country from a financial precipice.

And where announcements of individual deaths and national tragedies have been notified to a waiting nation.

It hit me like a tonne of bricks; this place matters.

Politics is an unforgiving business. In the main MPs are a collection of well-meaning people who want to change the world for the better, each believing that they provide a unique insight into how to achieve the utopian belief of their dreams. There are also the practitioners of the dark arts and disciples of Machiavelli hiding in every corner.

At times the anachronistic processes and conventions of parliament can be difficult to navigate a safe passage through, which causes great frustration for MPs and constituents alike.

As I left my final PMQs of this session, five years after tentatively stepping foot into the Chamber, I no longer found myself in awe of it, but reluctantly I have learnt to respect it more. The platform the Commons gives Members to get out the message (whatever that may be), is more potent than probably any other stage in the country.

When you stand up to speak, the press, the public at large and even parliaments and palaces around the world sometimes sit up and listen. And it has been the power of the Commons' microphone that has allowed me the opportunity to articulate the concerns of people campaigning to advance a number of important issues and amplify their collective voices.

For me, the last five years have been particularly poignant given the progress parliament has made in advancing the calls for justice for the 96 Liverpool fans who died at the Hillsborough stadium.

I think politics is changing and that it has changed over the life of this parliament. The representative nature of our democratic system is being routinely challenged by the yearning from large sections of society for a more direct democracy; a politics that is openly accessible to the masses and more representative of its views.

Constituents care about what is being debated in the Commons when it matter to them and their lives.

Members of Parliament now receive more emails and correspondence pressing them on votes and issues than ever before, and for many standardised responses simply won't do. The expectation levels have been cranked up and the glare of accountability is a constant companion for everyone who takes their seat on the green benches.

I don't profess to have learnt all the answers to how parliament should work in the future, or how its many frustrations can be ironed out, but I do look back on my first term proud of many of the campaigns I have brought to the highest debating chamber in the land.

I was the first MP to meet with social media providers to discuss the growing phenomena of internet trolling. I've met with academics, police and government ministers to press for changes in the law which allow police longer periods of time to gather evidence and give the CPS more chance to prosecute online abusers.

The campaign to introduce a new law which limits the age of tyres on buses and coaches looks set to be adopted by the Labour Party as a firm manifesto commitment and I will press a future Labour Government to implement this policy as soon as possible in the next parliament.

Elsewhere I have championed compensation schemes for mesothelioma sufferers and raised awareness of key dementia programmes such as the House of Memories programme in Liverpool.

My hope, is that my constituents will conclude that I have delivered on my promise to work hard for them and my City and that my colleagues in parliament, new and old, will understand in the next parliament, that backbench MPs can achieve good things - it's just that it takes so much time and energy!

But I do know that the last five years representing the area where I have always lived with my family have been unforgettable, and I'm looking forward to hopefully, stepping back into the Commons Chamber, but this time finding a new seat on the government benches.