Jeremy’s revival surprised even me
Labour did not win this month’s general election. But the fact they gained seats and prevented a Conservative majority is seen by many observers as a victory of sorts.
Central to that was the popularity of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who just a few months ago seemed to be a liability to the party’s chances.
Gerard himself had criticised the leader on Twitter but admits many people were wrong about the left-winger.
“I certainly think Jeremy Corbyn has exceeded people’s expectations, my own included,”he says.
“I think he really stepped up to the plate in this general election, especially in the last few weeks, people started to see him in a new light.
“He’s shown himself able to be a prime minister and a leader and I think that’s great and people are behind him on that.
“Nobody walks in the final package, your leadership is shaped by what happens and he’s probably been through more than most and he’s come out of it stronger which is a strength and mark of his character.
“We feel we are a government in waiting.
“When you look across the House of Commons to the Tories, they don’t look like they are happy, they are not comfortable or confident.”
Away from the cut and thrust of the chamber, MPs must work together to try to find common ground. And with Theresa May overseeing a minority government, albeit with support from the DUP, they must find common ground to get things done.
Brexit is likely to dominate British politics for the foreseeable future but Gerard says he is determined to keep his eye on other matters.
“Brexit is a really important issue, we need to get it right,”says Gerard.
“The job we have as MPs, the job I have is to try and make sure these other issues are not forgotten about, that they are still to the forefront and local issues get the airing they deserve. But there’s no getting away from it, it’s going to be a big dominating issue in this parliament.”
Just a few days after our interview, the DUP agreed a confidence and supply deal with the Conservatives.
It is not a prospect Gerard was relishing.
“The DUP deal has been a great concern to me. Not only do I not want to see LGBTI rights rolled back, but I want to see them continuing to advance so I am going to be making sure that’s the case in this parliament and that any deal does not have a detrimental affect on that.”