NEW St Helens North MP Conor McGinn gave his maiden speech in the House of Commons yesterday in which he spoke about the history of the town and the challenges it faces in the times ahead.

Here is his speech in full along from Hansard with a video:

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for affording me the opportunity to make my maiden speech in this debate on the Gracious Speech. Let me begin by paying tribute to other hon. Members who have made their maiden speeches today. They have set a high standard for those of us who must follow them.

It is truly a special honour to speak in the House as the newly elected Member of Parliament for St Helens North. My constituency has the proud history and traditions that would be expected from a place born of the industrial revolution, built on mining communities, and situated in the heart of the north-west of England.

Our towns, villages and parishes have unique and strong individual identities that have been forged over centuries. St Helens town has its reputation as the home of glass that gave the world the Pilkington process of float glass, and the famous Saints, our rugby league team, are the current Super League champions.

Our other town, Newton-le-Willows, was mentioned in the Domesday Book. It came to prominence in the 19th century as a railway town, and its Vulcan Foundry was one of the foremost locomotive manufacturers of the age. Along with neighbouring Earlestown, it has one of the oldest existing railway stations in the country.

A memorial in the station commemorates William Huskisson, an MP for Liverpool who became one of the world’s first widely reported railway casualties when, in 1830, he was run over and fatally wounded by a train in my constituency.

His distinguished career as Secretary of State for War in the colonies was cut short on that fateful day. Perhaps to err on the side of caution, I shall resist the temptation to invite any members of the current Government to visit my constituency—or at least, if I do, I shall advise them to travel by road.

In the north-eastern part of my constituency, the hill and beacon tower at Billinge mark the highest point in Merseyside. To the west, Rainford and its surroundings are testimony to the overlooked rural and agricultural nature of much of the area. Haydock, I am sure, will be known to some members as home to the eponymous racecourse, one of the finest in the country, which holds flat and national hunt meetings throughout the year.

St Helens North has a distinguished history and great potential for the future, but I fear that things will not be easy in the time ahead. I know that many of my constituents are worried about what lies ahead for them and their families.

I can only assure them that I will fight every day for our community, championing jobs and investment, standing up for the most vulnerable, and always defending the interests of our area.

I do not wish to confuse you or the House, Mr Deputy Speaker. I can see from the puzzled look on some faces that there is bewilderment at this strange St Helens accent, which sounds remarkably like the dulcet Ulster tones that are more associated with Northern Ireland Members.

There is a song called “The Boys from the County Armagh”, which contains the lines “My heart is at home in old Ireland, In the County of Armagh”.

I am one of those boys, and mine is, but if I might be allowed a somewhat metaphysical addition to the lyrics, I would say that my heart, along with my head and my feet, is also at home in the north-west of England, in the constituency of St Helens North.

If we are to describe generations as children of a seminal figure or defining events, I am most certainly a child of the peace process. The changed relationship between Britain and Ireland, and the end of the terrible conflict that caused so much pain to the peoples of these islands, have afforded me opportunities that were denied to many who came before me.

I am in debt to all in the House and outside it who have, through their sacrifice, courage and leadership over many years, helped to build peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. I do not wish to disrupt the etiquette of the House, but I hope that I may be allowed to call them all my honourable friends.

Where previously there were suspicion and mistrust, today there are friendship and co-operation between the United Kingdom and Ireland. There is no longer any contradiction in being Irish and British, and having feelings of loyalty and affinity to both countries.

The contribution made by the Irish in Britain to society here has helped to make that possible. It is valued and respected, and has helped to make this the great nation that it is. I hope that, in keeping with that tradition, I can make my own contribution through membership of the House of Commons.

My predecessor served the House and the people of St Helens North diligently for 17 years. Dave Watts is one of the finest men I know. He epitomises all that is noble about public service, and all that is good about politics. His work for his constituency, and his devotion to his constituents, are an example to us all. Dave served as the chair of the parliamentary Labour party.

He is a solid Labour man in the best working-class traditions of our movement. I thank him, his wife Avril, and their family for everything they have done for St Helens North and its people, and for me as well.

Let me end by saying that I come to the House committed to representing my constituents, and determined to work hard for my constituency. I made the people of St Helens North a promise that I would do my best for them, and it is a promise that I intend to keep.