It was an honour to serve as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party between June 2015 and July 2016. I am proud to have worked on Party reform and to have supported the Candidate Bursary Scheme to encourage and enable those on lower incomes to become MPs.
The most enjoyable part of the job had been to visit thousands of Party Members and many Conservative Associations all over the country, from Cheshire to Exeter, speaking about the Conservatives as the true Workers Party.
During that time, I was also pleased to reestablish the Conservative Trade Unionists movement, which I know that under the fantastic direction of Spencer Pitfield and Stephen Canning, and our incredible regional organisers, will continue to go from strength to strength.
I hope that we can continue to reform our party and rebuild our membership base and infrastructure at grassroots level – so that we can really take the fight to Labour. Above all, we need to ensure Conservatives stand proud as the real workers party of Great Britain, as the party with a moral mission to help hardworking people.
As our Prime Minister has said, we need to build a country that works for everyone and do all we can to help the most vulnerable in our communities so that whatever your background, you will be able to go as far as your talents will take you.
We are the party of the ladder, of aspiration and opportunity but we must be the party of the social ambulance too.
It is my belief that we must re-create and renew the concept of the Conservatives as a mass movement.
The Conservative Party is perhaps the greatest political movement in the Western world. It has been a force for freedom across the continents, provided our country with some of the greatest political leaders over the generations and shown a remarkable ability to turn devastating defeat into victory.
I want us to re-affirm the Conservative Party as one that has a moral mission that excites millions across the country. A Party that is genuinely seen as the party of working people, not just because of Government policy, but by our own membership offering, language, acts, deeds and actions. A Party that attracts people from every walk of life – whether it be through our nation’s volunteers, entrepreneurs, teachers or nurses.
Winston Churchill once said that the Conservative Party should be the party of the ladder: of assistance, aspiration and achievement.
By the 2020 election, when Conservatives are knocking on doors across the United Kingdom, our objective must be not to convince ‘shy Conservatives’ to vote for us, but to meet people who are proud to be associated with the Conservatives, because – unlike our opponents – we are on their side. How much better would it be, if the public, instead of thinking of us just as Tories, thought of the Conservatives as for the workers.
Conservatism has always been about changing what is necessary to conserve what is best. The potential for successful party reform is huge – and exciting. Building on our traditions, but renewing ourselves for the years ahead.
I am honoured to have been offered a new position as Minister of State in the Department for Education and I look forward to continuing to work for the Party and our country in my new capacity.