In 2015, I was elected as the MP for Derby North, winning by just 41 votes, you can imagine that the win was not a given, during the two years until Labour won back the seat, I had the simple philosophy to do the best I can do for all the constituents of Derby North.
I was overjoyed to continue with this philosophy when I won back the seat in the 2019 election, this time with a majority of 2,540. From a young age, I never thought that my that my childhood dream of becoming an MP, let alone a minister, would become true. I can remember passionately wanting to achieve something that I didn’t know how to achieve, or indeed have the confidenceto get t here. My upbringing was what many people would describe as ‘dysfunctional’, where my mum was addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs. Despite this, I was lucky to have the opportunity to take the Eleven Plus and access a great education to pursue a rewarding career.
Despite difficulties I was fortunate to have strong enough foundations in my education and after many years finally felt ready to pursue a political career, even if that meant failure.
However, many young people are not so lucky. Mental health remains an issue which can lead to people dropping out of education.
That’s why, like so many Blue Collar Conservatives, I care passionately that we must we must do all we can to support people’s mental wellbeing.
The Conservatives are at the forefront of supporting those with mental health issues, with mental health services receiving a budget growth of £2.3 billion to help fund children and young peoples’ crisis teams.
While there is always more that can be done, we are heading in the right direction.
Having been a school governor for more than 20 years, I believe that education is crucial for our young people.
I am a Conservative because I want to enable and support people to fulfil their dreams and make their own way in life through hard work and determination.
I also firmly believe we must give people back control of their lives through a positive agenda which is confident about the country’s future and empowers people in their everyday lives.
Within the community, I have spoken with and visited many amazing organisations in Derby who help make sure that we do get it right for everyone.
Engineered Learning in my constituency runs an engineering workshop where young people who have fallen out of school systems, can gain the qualifications they need to find employment for the future.
It was incredible to speak to some of the young people and hear from themselves how attending the workshop has genuinely helped them to achieve, avoid getting into trouble with the police and even prison.
The Coronavirus has made it difficult for me to visit my Dad who lives in Wales, but he is so incredibly proud of my achievements and sits in the front room of his council house smoking his pipe, looking out for me on the TV. When I do visit, he likes to show me off and very loudly ask me ‘so what is it like in Parliament then?’.
It was my Dad of course who inspired me to get into politics, he was always reading the paper and interested in what is cracking off politically. He’s like so many Blue-Collar Conservatives who believe that hard work pays off and opportunities are there if you look for them.
The UK has experienced political change over the past couple of decades with the Conservatives performing well in old Labour strongholds like Bolsover and Sedgefield. For many of my constituents, and what I suspect for many voters in the new “Blue Wall”, people want to be given opportunity to be allowed to work hard and go as far as their talents can take them with the confidence to do so.
The Conservative Party values helping those that seek opportunity, even in my own office in Westminster and Derby is made up of people who I believe have talent from diverse backgrounds and deserve an opportunity to work hard.
This is why the Conservative Party won so many seats at the last election in 2019, many for the first time ever.
It’s because we’re the party of hard work, opportunity and support and why we’re the party for all hard-working people from all backgrounds.