Respect here to stay

May I, on behalf of the Respect election team, say a big thank-you to the people of Rotherham for their amazing warmth, hospitality and support.

Respect achieved an unbelievable result in just over two weeks of campaigning - coming from a point of zero the result was more than encouraging, silenced critics and proved our message of peace, justice and equality resonated with voters.

As it was, the majority of those who voted last week chose Sarah Champion to represent them and it would be churlish not to congratulate her. But this is not the end for Respect in Rotherham, merely the beginning. Not only will our candidates feature in future elections, both local and general, a new Rotherham branch of the party has already met to map out plans for 2013.

None of this could have been achieved without the backing of nearly 2,000 voters who put their faith and trust in Respect or without the unstinting support shown by a group of local people who believed in Respect. Some were seasoned activists, veteran campaigners, others had never fought an election before but they were passionate about delivering our message of people before politics. I am deeply humbled by everyone's efforts and look forward to working with you all again.

Yvonne Ridley, Respect by-election candidate for 2012.