First of all can I just say a huge, huge thank you to all of you. In just three weeks, our activists put in a marathon effort to deliver millions of leaflets, bang in 'Stop Brexit' and 'Bollocks to Brexit' stakeboards and knock on thousands of doors (and this was on the back of an enormous effort to get all those wonderful councillors elected!).
Now we are sixteen MEPs and I finally have some colleagues with me to fly the Lib Dem flag in Brussels and Strasbourg! There are some past MEPs coming back into our midst like Chris Davies, Phil Bennion and Bill Newton-Dunn, but there also some rising stars in the party like Irina Von Wiese, Antony Hook and Caroline Voaden and so many others who come with a whole range of skills and life experiences. It is truly a great and diverse team - over 50% are women and two MEPs are BAME.
Yesterday we met in London and the MEPs voted for me to lead our Lib Dem delegation in the European Parliament. I believe that my knowledge of how the EU works combined with the connections I have made over here in the last five years will ensure that our stop Brexit message is heard loud and clear by the EU negotiators.
Now we will begin setting up our offices for the frantic months ahead and make sure we hit the ground running when the new European Parliament term begins on July 2nd. Each one of us will be regularly coming back to our constituencies, hosting meetings in town halls, speaking to businesses and community groups, campaigning with Lib Dem activists and reaching out to other remain groups. We have to use this summer to build momentum for a potential General Election in the autumn.
So finally, my message to you all is this: hold your head up high and be proud of what you have achieved in this month of May (where we also saw the end of Prime Minister May). Keep having the conversations with the undecided and call out the Brexiters who believe democracy ended on June 23rd 2016. Liberal Democrats are more important than ever to the future peace and prosperity of this country and we must take on this responsibility with passion and commitment.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
* Catherine Bearder is a Liberal Democrat MEP for the South East and Leader of the European Parliament Liberal Democrat Group.