Six months since the General Election

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BY HOLLY WHITBREAD

It is hard to believe that the General Election was only six months ago, it feels like a lifetime. 

I remember the euphoria of seeing that exit poll after weeks of facing all the elements whilst campaigning in the North of England.  During this time the rain never dampened my optimism, I was armed with the strong and clear message, that we, the Conservative Party, were finally going to deliver upon the democratic mandate of the European Referendum. We would then work to build a positive post-Brexit Britain, levelling up and providing opportunity for all and investing in vital public services.

As a Parliamentary Candidate in Hull, a traditionally Labour city, and supporting colleagues in the former Labour Heartlands turned marginal seats of Grimsby and Scunthorpe, it was clear that the red wall would crumble. Even in my ‘safe Labour seat’, people were more receptive to the Conservative Party than ever before. 

The Labour Party were seen to have been complacent for too long, trust in the party of the left had eroded. It was felt by many that the movement had abandoned its working-class roots and become the mouthpiece of a small corner of North London and University Campuses. Labour did not stand for the people in the constituencies they had represented for generations. People wanted to be listened to and see a change in their communities and across the country, the Conservative Party were the vehicle to deliver this.

Boris’ government got off to a raring start.  On 31st January 2020, we saw fireworks and union jacks waving in a new era, as Brexit was delivered. This was supposed to set the tone for the Johnson era, a national renaissance as we became an Independent nation once more. No one could have foreseen what was coming in the months ahead, a global pandemic, which would transform our way of life and re-purpose the focus of the government. 

Another consequence of the coronavirus crisis is that the left has been re-emboldened, their over-inflated egos have been bolstered by some aspects of the media, who appear intent on providing a distorted and downbeat view of COVID Britain and creating social division. 

Inevitably, when dealing with the unknown, some aspects of a response will be imperfect. However, in many respects the Government have been successful, taking bold steps to weather the economic storm and crucially stopping the NHS from being overwhelmed. 

As we move out of the immediate health crisis and lockdown measures ease, the Conservatives now have a full term ahead to focus on economic recovery and building back better.  The confirmation of ending the transition period from the EU on 31st December 2020 puts us on the right path, this must now be followed through with determination and purpose. Despite COVID, we must stay on track and drive our nation to its new destination. We have a huge mandate to lay the foundations for our future. 

Now is the time to respond competently and confidently and re-ignite the momentum which brought Boris to Downing Street not so long ago.   So that at the next election, in four years’ time, we can present the electorate with a record to be proud of and road map to a brighter tomorrow. The Government must use its Conservative voice which chimes with the silent majority in the country.  

We must remain mindful of the fact, that even though the new Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmar, is far more presentable and articulate that Jeremy Corbyn, he is merely the Emperor in new clothes.  Sir Keir represents the generation of Labour politicians who arrogantly failed to listen to the people. He is emblematic of the middle class, metropolitan elite which has polluted Labour Party Leadership and undermined the party’s voter base.  

Labour’s betrayal of democracy and city centric bias will be not forgotten.  The Conservatives can continue to breach this gap, by taking a holistic approach to COVID recovery and following the spirit of our manifesto which secured the biggest Conservative majority in decades. 

Starmar’s performances at the despatch box are forensic yet negative and dull in comparison to Boris’ boisterous optimism, which when applied effectively and with purpose can inspire the electorate through this difficult time.  As he demonstrated at Prime Minister’s Questions only last week. 

There is now an opportunity for the Conservative Government to shape post-Brexit Britain through a COVID lens, delivering something which people can believe in.  This will secure long-term faith in the Government, which will help the Conservatives maintain and grow our majority at the next election.  The public are not stupid and will see that Labour’s superficial facelift does not represent systemic change.

Holly Whitbread is the Deputy Chair, Political of Epping Forest Conservatives and the Deputy Chair of Conservative Young Women. As a District Councillor, she is the Cabinet member for Housing. Follow her on twitter: @HollyLWhitbread


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