With people now in parliament who want to undermine democracy, we must defend it

MPs must not allow a lack of trust to break the bond between public and their elected representatives

Going back to parliament in London today will be a strange experience. At one and the same time, I will be returning to the normal

routine and starting something completely different. A different government, different colleagues and a different dynamic to parliament. And for the next five years, hopefully, a different direction for the country.

Labour has swept back into power after 14 years with the determination but not, as yet, the flair or emotive resonance of Blair’s 1997 victory. The chalice which they have so eagerly grasped is not so much filled with poison as depleted of all nourishment for the nation.

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They do not come to power at an easy time. Five years of chaos has tried the country's patience and exhausted the public purse. Trust in politicians, particularly Conservative ones, is at an all-time low.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: The time 12:20pm shows on Big Ben on March 29, 2017 in London, England. The British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses the Houses of Parliament as Article 50 is triggered and the process that will take the United Kingdom out of the European Union begins.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: The time 12:20pm shows on Big Ben on March 29, 2017 in London, England. The British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses the Houses of Parliament as Article 50 is triggered and the process that will take the United Kingdom out of the European Union begins.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: The time 12:20pm shows on Big Ben on March 29, 2017 in London, England. The British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses the Houses of Parliament as Article 50 is triggered and the process that will take the United Kingdom out of the European Union begins. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

In many ways this election result has been a reaction to the incompetence of the Conservative and SNP governments. It’s from this political rubble that this new parliament must build a future.

My own party, the Liberal Democrats, had our most successful election since the party was founded and, as a result, has the opportunity as the third-biggest party in Westminster to use our position to hold this new government to account. Of course those party successes are a sum of the individual constituency victories in communities up and down the country.

As I took to the stage for my own declaration, I was reminded of that general election nine years ago, when we Liberal Democrats faced a defeat not dissimilar in scale to the Conservatives this week. It was an incredibly difficult and emotional night, one which the late Charles Kennedy memorably described as "the night of the long sgian dubhs".

As I thanked all those public servants and volunteers who make this regular and peaceful transfer of power possible, I couldn't help but hope that those elected from my party this time could do justice to the legacy of those who had been let down by the 2015 result. That with renewed relationships with our communities, we could again pursue those liberal aims to which we are all committed.

Just as democracy across the world is under threat, there are people from within our country and indeed parliament who want to undermine it from within. This 2024 intake must, must, protect it and not allow that lack of trust I mentioned to break the bond between public and their representatives.

Our new Prime Minister has said he will put country before party. It is a noble statement, the right thing to declare and something which the public needed to hear. Every Member of Parliament, returning or new, needs to rebuild public trust in what we do.

People have been angry and they have shown clearly that by putting an X in a box, they will oust those who have failed them. But they have also shown clearly that they will support those who have offered public service in its truest sense.

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Their message could not be clearer. It is now up to us to ensure that it is listened to, and the improvement in politics and politicians that they crave is delivered.

Christine Jardine is Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West

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